In a Rhythm

After playing in front of the largest-ever viewing audience for a game, the Milwaukee Bucks now have to deal with the defending NBA champions.

Yi Jianlian and the Bucks will try for their first road win of the season when they visit the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made San Antonio -10.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 185 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 81% of bets for this game have been placed on San Antonio -10.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Yi, a 20-year-old rookie, squared off against Houston's Yao Ming on Friday in the first-ever matchup between the two Chinese players. The game, which started early Saturday morning in China, was being broadcast on 19 television networks and NBA officials were expecting the largest-ever viewing audience for a game, well over 200 million.

Yi had 19 points and nine rebounds, but Yao had 28 points, 10 rebounds and three assists as Houston won 104-88.

"I wasn't thinking about it in terms of Yi or Yao," Yi said. "It was the Rockets against the Bucks. I was concerned about the game."

Michael Redd, who leads Milwaukee (2-3) with 23.2 points per game, had 26 against the Rockets. But Yi was the focus, and he managed to impress his countryman.

"His talent is unbelievable," Yao said. "You ask me how good he can be? I can't say that. But I think he'll be better than me."

Despite Yi's efforts, the Bucks fell to 0-3 on the road. Milwaukee has been outscored by an average of nearly 13 points away from home.

The Bucks haven't started a season with three straight road defeats since 2004-05, when they dropped their first seven away from home.

Milwaukee has dropped four of its last five in San Antonio, but won in its last game there on Dec. 26 and swept both games against the Spurs (5-1) last season. Redd averaged 32.5 points om over 64 percent shooting in the two wins.

The Spurs have won their last two games, including Friday's 97-85 win in New Orleans. Tony Parker, who sat out the first few preseason games after spending the summer playing with the French national team, scored a season-high 27 points.

Parker leads the team with a career-best 20.3 points per game and is the only member of the Spurs to score 15 points or more in each of the team's first six games.

"His rhythm's been back. He hasn't lost it. He's been going 100 miles an hour since he's been back," said Tim Duncan, who added 24 points and 12 rebounds. "I don't know if he's been breathing hard here and there, but he's been looking good."

Duncan, who led the Spurs with 20.0 points and 10.6 rebounds per game last season, has recorded a double-double in four of six games so far. He has averaged 23.6 points and 12.6 rebounds in 18 career games against the Bucks.

"I just got some shots to fall early," Duncan said about Friday's effort. "When you do that, things start feeling a little better and those shots don't look as daunting as they do when you miss a couple at the beginning."

Guard Brent Barry did not play after spraining his right ankle diving for a ball against Miami on Wednesday.

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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