Spurs to host Giannis and NBA-best Bucks
Game marks the return of Pau Gasol to San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs (37-29) will put their four-game winning streak on the line when they host the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks (50-16) Sunday night.
Milwaukee is led by NBA MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek Freak, as he's known, leads the Bucks in points per game (27.0), rebounds per game (12.6) and assists per game (6.0). It will take a team effort to slow down the six-year pro.
"Show him a crowd," Spurs guard Derrick White said. "One-on-one he's tough, so whoever's on him you got to help him out. Show him a crowd and try to keep him out of the paint."
Defense has been key during the Spurs current winning streak, allowing an average of 100.5 points per game. That will be tested tonight by Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who lead the Eastern Conference at 117.5 points per contest.
"Giannis, is a load for sure," Spurs center Jakob Poeltl said. "When he gets downhill we have to try to keep him out of the paint. That's how they really get going, by getting into the paint and kicking out to their three-point shooters. Yeah, It's going to have to be a team effort on Giannis for sure."
This contest also marks the return of former Spur Pau Gasol. The Bucks center negotiated a contract buyout with the Spurs on March 1 and joined the Bucks two days later.
"Yeah. I'm definitely going to see Pau again," White said. "He was a great teammate here. He did a lot for me personally, so I'm looking forward to talking to him again."
Gasol, an 18-year-veteran, played nearly three seasons with the Spurs and joined the Bucks in time to be eligible for the playoffs.
"Yeah, it should be fun," Poeltl said. "I didn't really get a chance to talk him after he left. It was all so fast. Yeah, it's cool that he is back so quickly after it all happened."
Fatigue could be a factor for Milwaukee on Sunday. The Bucks played at home Saturday night, beating the Charlotte Hornets 131-114 and earning their league-best 50th win. Daylight saving time cost the Bucks an hour after arriving to San Antonio in the wee hours of the morning.
Tip is 7:30 tonight at the AT&T Center.
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