Bucks Knock Off Spurs

Billy Bob Thornton (R) and his wife, actress Angelina Jolie, arrive at the 59th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills 20 January 2002. Thornton is nominated for Best Actor-Motion Picture Drama for his role in "Monster's Ball."
LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks were giving each other high-fives, while the San Antonio Spurs were pointing fingers.

Ray Allen had 26 points and Dale Ellis scored all of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks beat the defending champions 99-88 Thursday night.

The matchup of the NBA's highest-scoring offense and its stingiest defense remained tight until midway through the fourth quarter, when the Bucks pulled away with an offensive rush the Spurs couldn't defend and couldn't match on the other end.

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Game Summary

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  • San Antonio has lost two of three after starting the year 6-1. David Robinson took his teammates to task for their weak fourth-quarter effort.

    "It's the same mistakes. We can't get five guys out there on the same page," Robinson said. "Right now, half the guys on the floor are doing the right thing. It's about time guys begin to understand what we're doing."

    Milwaukee and San Antonio were tied at 68 entering the fourth quarter, but the Bucks held the Spurs to six field goals in the fourth while ending the game with a 14-5 run.

    The Bucks improved to 4-0 at home and took over first place in the Central Division with the win.

    "That was a prime example of what we can do," said Glenn Robinson, who had 22 points. "Anybody on this team can get hot and carry us for a while, but when several guys get it going at the same time, we're impressive."

    Duncan had 29 points and 14 rebounds, but also made seven turnovers. Robinson added 21 points for San Antonio, but the Spurs missed nine free throws in the second half and couldn't stop the Bucks' multi-faceted offense.

    Milwaukee's 99 points, though 10 below its season averae, were the most the Spurs have allowed all season. For all their offensive prowess, coach George Karl was most impressed by his team's gritty defense in the fourth.

    The Bucks went to a small lineup of shooters in the game's closing minutes, with constant double-teams on the Spurs' twin towers. When the big men passed out of the pressure, their teammates were no help, and the Bucks ran away.

    "We are still trying to figure out how good we are, but I like what I saw from our defense tonight," Karl said. "That fourth quarter effort was just about everything you can ask for."

    Ellis' 3-pointer from right in front of Spurs' bench with 1:24 to play put Milwaukee up 92-84, and Sam Cassell hit another 3-pointer 40 seconds later to seal the win.

    Cassell had 19 points but only five assists in a subpar effort. Terry Porter had 11 points and was the only other San Antonio player in double figures.

    Milwaukee never trailed after the first quarter, even though the finesse-oriented Bucks were playing the Spurs' physical style rather than their own up-tempo game until the fourth. The referees also did their part to slow down the tempo, calling 28 of the game's 48 fouls on the Bucks.

    The Bucks made a 7-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, taking an 81-74 lead with 7:08 to play on Danny Manning's short jumper. San Antonio closed to 83-80 with 3:51 left, but Ellis scored five quick points to end the threat.

    Robinson hit his first seven shots and scored 20 points in the first half, but Duncan scored 18 and the Spurs trailed just 45-44.

    Notes

  • San Antonio's three-game winning streak in the series was snapped.
  • Referee Terry Durham called a technical foul on J.R. Reid when the Bucks player fouled out with 3:51 to play. Reid's words to Durham: "That was a great call."
  • Ervin Johnson electrified the small but vocal Bradley Center crowd when he emphatically blocked a dunk attempt by Duncan late in the first quarter, but the cheers turned to boos when referee Sean Corbin called a foul. Replays showed the block was spectacular and clean.
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich picked up a technical foul for arguing with Corbin in the second quarter.

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