Gameday Preview: Spurs @ Bucks - 12/11/13
While the San Antonio Spurs have mostly had their way against Eastern Conference opponents, the Milwaukee Bucks are still seeking their first win against the West.
The Spurs are hoping to see those trends continue Wednesday night as they go for a seventh win in eight games against the Bucks.
After falling 111-100 to NBA-leading Indiana on Saturday, San Antonio (16-4) opened a two-game trip with Tuesday's 116-103 win at Toronto. The Spurs shot 54.9 percent and recorded a season best-tying 30 assists in improving to 8-1 against the East.
"We had a lot of guys contribute with 30 assists and that's always fantastic when you get the ball moving," coach Gregg Popovich told the league's official website. "The point where you get 30 assists, you know people are playing the right way."
Manu Ginobili was one of seven players to score in double figures, posting team highs of 16 points and nine assists off the bench. San Antonio is 10-1 when he dishes out at least five assists.
"Manu looks healthy, he looks like he has fresh legs," Popovich said. "He is looking good so far and as long as he is healthy it is great for us."
The Spurs also got a boost from second-year center Aron Baynes, who scored a career-high 14 on 7-of-9 shooting while helping fill in for the injured Tiago Splitter (calf).
"Tiago is a big part of what we do so somebody has to step up. Right now, Baynesie is doing good," point guard Tony Parker said. "We see him in practice all the time so we know we have somebody who can play. He played international basketball, he's been to an Olympics. He's got some experience."
Ginobili is averaging 17.8 points and 5.6 assists in his last five meetings against Milwaukee, all San Antonio wins. The Spurs, who averaged 113.5 points in sweeping last season's two-game series, have taken six of seven from the Bucks.
San Antonio has posted an NBA-leading 81.6 winning percentage against the East since the start of 2010-11, going 71-16. Milwaukee, last in the league with 90.2 points per game, has averaged just 81.3 in going 0-3 against the West this season.
The Bucks (5-16), though, have won two of three overall after a 78-74 victory at Chicago on Tuesday. John Henson had a season-high 25 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks as the Bucks held the Bulls to 37.3 percent shooting.
"We just kept fighting," Henson said. "Man, we just kept fighting. As a young team, a scrappy team out here, that's what we got to do."
Brandon Knight also came up big with 19 points and a career high-tying 10 boards.
Gary Neal, who spent the first three seasons of his career with San Antonio before signing with Milwaukee this summer, is uncertain to face his former team after missing Tuesday's game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Milwaukee is also dealing with injuries to Caron Butler (sore left knee) and Zaza Pachulia (fractured right foot).
The Bucks have dropped seven of eight at home, and the Spurs have won seven of eight on the road by an average of 14.1 points.
Tim Duncan is averaging 23.1 points in 15 games at Milwaukee, tied for his highest career road mark against any team. He scored 28 to go along with 13 rebounds as San Antonio won 117-110 in its last visit Jan. 2.
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