Winning Ways

As some other Western Conference powers made blockbuster moves to acquire big-name talent in February, the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs continued their winning ways.

The Spurs look to extend their season-high seven-game winning streak on Saturday when they visit the Milwaukee Bucks, who have won three straight home games against playoff contenders.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made San Antonio -6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 193.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 86% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio -6 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Spurs (39-17) signed veteran point guard Damon Stoudamire and made a minor deal for forward Kurt Thomas, but sat and watched as Pau Gasol, Jason Kidd and Shaquille O'Neal were traded to three of San Antonio's primary rivals for Western supremacy.

Since Gasol was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 1 and the trade market took off, the Spurs have taken off. They've won 11 of 12 overall, including seven road victories.

After starting the season 8-11 away from home, San Antonio is 7-1.

The Spurs, though, are coming off a 97-94 home victory Thursday against Dallas, which had gone 3-1 since acquiring Kidd on Feb. 19. Tim Duncan capped off a month during which he'd averaged 21.8 points and 13.0 rebounds with his best game yet, totaling 31 points and 15 rebounds effort against the Mavericks.

"Offense, the ball goes through him. On defense, he's our defender, our rebounder,'' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who referred to Duncan as the "backbone" of the team. "Everybody rotates off him. He's just really special. We don't get anything done without him.''

Duncan is averaging 23.2 points and 12.5 rebounds lifetime against Milwaukee.

Perhaps the best news for Popovich's team is that it appears to finally be healthy. Tony Parker played more than 30 minutes against Dallas for the first time in a month. He'd sat out nine games with a bone spur in his left heel, and had been progressively increasing his minutes in his first three games back.

Manu Ginobili is just 10-for-33 in his past two games, but had been lighting up opponents in his previous seven, averaging 30.4 points, 6.8 assists and 6.3 rebounds as the Spurs reclaimed the Southwest Division lead from New Orleans.

"We know that if you lose two, three in a row you can drop from the second spot to the seventh with things being so tight," Ginobili said. "So it is very important to play every game with a lot of energy."

The Bucks (22-36) have looked impressive in beating Detroit, Denver and Cleveland in their last three home games, upping their record to a respectable 16-11 at the Bradley Center.

But they're on the outside looking in of the Eastern Conference playoff race primarily due to their 6-25 road record.

They allowed more than 100 points for the fourth straight game on Thursday, falling 120-106 at New Jersey, Milwaukee's 10th road loss in 11 games.

"Every loss hurts. Losing to Detroit hurts just as bad as a loss like tonight," said Michael Redd, who had 33. "You just have to go back and rebuild and get ready for Saturday against San Antonio."

Redd has scored 29.2 points per game in his last six, including a 42-point effort against Denver last Saturday. The Bucks are 4-21 when Redd has fewer than 25 points.

Milwaukee's other starting guard has been nearly as hot. Mo Williams is averaging 29.0 points and 6.7 assists in his last three contests.

On the interior, Andrew Bogut is averaging 16.7 points and 14.3 rebounds in his last three. He'll have his hands full with Duncan inside, but in five career games against the Spurs' star, Bogut has held his own, averaging 13.8 points and 9.0 boards.

The Bucks have won three of their last five against the Spurs, but fell 113-88 in San Antonio on Nov. 11.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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