DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and Patty Mills put aside concern about the deadly fires in his native Australia to help the San Antonio Spurs to a 126-104 upset of the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Mills – who has been using his social media accounts to offer updates on the bushfires – made six three-pointers as the Spurs drained a season-high 19 from beyond the arc and turned the tables on Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who had beaten them on Saturday.
Mills said facing the powerhouse Bucks twice in quick succession was actually a good thing.
“You can kind of lock in a little bit in a smaller version of a playoff series,” Mills said. “You can hone in to their strengths and weaknesses.”
But even as he focused on the task at hand, Mills said Monday he had been “keeping a close eye” on the news from Australia. “It’s very devastating what’s happening,” he said. “It’s one of those disasters and a national crisis that is hard to comprehend.”
San Antonio hit 12 of 20 three-point attempts in the first half, tying a club record for most made three-pointers in any half. They handed the Bucks their first defeat since an upset loss to Philadelphia on Christmas Day.
It was also the Bucks’ first loss this season to a team without a winning record, but Milwaukee maintained the best record in the league at 32-6. The Spurs, who improved to 15-20, are fighting to hang onto eighth place in the Western Conference.
Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 24 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Dallas’ MVP candidate Luka Doncic delivered his league-leading 11th triple-double of the season with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Mavericks to a 118-110 victory over the Chicago Bulls.
Doncic scored 21 points in the third quarter as the Mavs took charge of a close game. Chicago lost forward Wendell Carter Jr. with 8:25 remaining in the third, when he suffered an apparent right ankle injury.
In Atlanta, Denver center Nikola Jokic scored 47 points to lead the Nuggets to a 123-115 victory over the Hawks. Jokic, stung early when Hawks guard Trae Young made a crisp pass between the Nuggets player’s legs to set up Alex Len for a layup, responded with the highest-scoring game of his career.
Jokic connected on 16 of 25 from the floor as the Nuggets avoided a third straight defeat after falling to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday and the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
The injury-depleted Wizards, 12th in the Eastern Conference, surprised another top team with a 99-94 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Ish Smith had a big game, coming off the bench to score 27 points for Washington.
Jazz edge Pelicans
There was controversy in New Orleans, where the Pelicans thought forward Brandon Ingram was fouled by Utah center Rudy Gobert on a potential game-tying final shot.
No foul was called, and the Jazz emerged with a 128-126 victory.
“All we did is exactly what we were supposed to do – took the ball, drove it hard to the basket, then they determined it wasn’t a foul,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “End of game.”
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 35 points and Joe Ingles added 22 for the Jazz, who pushed their winning streak to six games. Ingram scored 35 points for the Pelicans.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr was irked by the officiating in the first half of the Warriors’ 111-98 loss to the Kings in Sacramento.
His protests drew two quick technical fouls and an ejection shortly before half-time, the coach walking onto the court to give officials a further piece of his mind before departing.