- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich can’t figure out why his team plays so much better on the road than at home.

As long as they keep winning, Popovich will gladly take the results.

LaMarcus Aldridge was credited for the go-ahead basket with 21.2 seconds left after Giannis Antetokounmpo was whistled for goaltending, completing the Spurs‘ rally from 15 points down midway through the third quarter in a 97-96 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.

“You don’t win every game by 20. They played well. That’s how they stuck with us. They’re young and athletic and hungry,” Popovich said in typical gruff fashion.

“What are we, the Magic Johnson Lakers with Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) and everybody? We’re just like everybody else,” he added.

Milwaukee had one last shot to retake the lead, but Mirza Teletovic missed an open 3-pointer from the right corner with 3.9 seconds left. Aldridge secured the rebound and the Spurs ran out the clock.

The Bucks went the final 2:25 without a bucket.

“You cannot afford to make a lot of mistakes and put them in the game,” Antetokounmpo said. “They can take away the game as they did tonight.”

San Antonio extended its season-opening road winning streak to 12 games in thrilling fashion. Aldridge had 18 points. Kawhi Leonard finished with 22 points and nine boards.

The Spurs improved to 17-4 overall, but don’t ask Popovich about the home-road disparity.

“I don’t care, I have no clue,” he said before the game. “You ask me, I’m the coach, I’m supposed to know? Ask me about the .500 at home. Start with the bad.”

Aldridge had 18 points, while Kawhi Leonard finished with 21 points and nine rebounds.

BUCKS BALL

Jabari Parker had 23 points, picking up the slack for much of the fourth quarter with Antetokounmpo on the bench with five fouls.

Parker slashed through the lane for buckets and rebounds. But the team went scoreless after Parker’s running bucket with 2:25 left for a three-point lead.

“You can also grow from losing, too,” coach Jason Kidd said. “I think tonight, we can learn a lot from our mistakes.”

Antetokounmpo finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds.

DEDMON ON

The Spurs‘ bench keyed the second-half rally. San Antonio trailed 57-42 with 7:27 left in the third before reserves Dewayne Dedmon (10 points) and Nicholas Laprovittola (five assists) gave the team a spark.

Dedmon “made them guard a different way because he was at the rim. He was really special for us,” Popovich said.

TENSE MOMENT

Tensions rose late in the third quarter after Dedmon and Monroe grappled for a rebound. San Antonio’s Davis Bertans and Milwaukee’s Michael Beasley were ejected for their roles in the shoving match.

TIP-INS:

Spurs: G Tony Parker started after missing the previous two games with a thigh contusion. He had six points and five assists in 18 minutes before limping off with about 9 minutes left in the third quarter after falling hard to the floor and appearing to grab at his left knee. Parker stayed on the bench the rest of the night, and Popovich said he could be out for a while. … The Spurs hit their first three 3-point shots of the game before going 1 of 11 from behind the arc the rest of the first half. They trailed 48-35 at halftime.

Bucks: Antetokounmpo was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 3.7 steals and 3.0 blocks per game. The Bucks went 3-0 last week, including a 17-point home win over the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

UP NEXT

Spurs: Play the second game of a three-game swing through the Midwest at Minnesota on Tuesday. San Antonio has won seven straight against the Timberwolves.

Bucks: Host Portland on Wednesday. Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts was the Bucks‘ head coach from 2005-07.


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