SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The depth that San Antonio showed off in Miami, even though it led to a hefty fine and a stern rebuke from the NBA, yielded an inspired victory for the Spurs.
Tony Parker and Gary Neal each scored 22 points, and San Antonio had a season-high 53 rebounds in a 110-99 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Tim Duncan added 17 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio (15-4). Tiago Splitter had 15 points, Manu Ginobili scored 11 and Matt Bonner had a season-high 12 rebounds.
Even with Neal starting in place of an injured Danny Green, San Antonio's bench had 40 points, 25 rebounds and 13 rebounds, and fueled a decisive 36-13 run bridging the final two quarters against Milwaukee (8-9).
"It was our best group all night, on the court," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They were really active defensively. They all rebounded. Matty Bonner was awesome on the board and on the other end, the ball moved. Nobody held it, so that group did a good job at both ends and got the win for us."
The bench's contributions came hours after NBA Commissioner David Stern reaffirmed that his decision to fine San Antonio $250,000 was "appropriate."
Stern said Popovich's choice to send Parker, Duncan, Ginobili and Green home rather than play a nationally televised game Thursday in Miami was "not about a coaching decision. This is more about the relationship among our 30 teams and 30 owners."
The Spurs believe Popovich's move was smart coaching.
"They're talented," Parker said. "They showed it in Miami and tonight they showed it again. Pop is always trying to do stuff to make sure our bench is performing and tonight it definitely performed."
San Antonio's starting unit struggled against Milwaukee, trailing 70-64 with 5:21 left in the third quarter following a 16-foot jumper by Samuel Dalembert.
That's when Popovich turned to the group that Miami needed a late rally to overcome.
San Antonio closed the third on a 12-6 spurt, fueled by 3-pointers by Bonner, Ginobili and Nando De Colo. A defensive goaltending call against Larry Sanders on a layup by De Colo gave the Spurs a 78-76 lead, their first since late in the first half.