MILWAUKEE – The veteran San Antonio Spurs got a big night from rookie Jonathon Simmons.
The reserve swingman had a career-high 18 points, Kawhi Leonard scored 10 of his 24 in the decisive third quarter and the Spurs beat the Milwaukee Bucks 123-98 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.
San Antonio set a season high for points, two days after posting 121 against Houston, and Simmons made a big impression on Joe Prunty, the Bucks’ interim coach.
“One of the biggest differences was Jonathan Simmons,” Prunty said. “He really came in and affected the game. His energy, his effort, pushing the ball down the floor and how aggressive he was. He really impacted the game.”
Simmons went 6-for-7 from the floor, made six of seven free throws and committed only one turnover. He made his debut Nov. 14 after spending last season with the Austin Spurs, San Antonio’s NBA D-League affiliate.
“The aggressiveness is the first thing that stands out,” Prunty said. “His mindset was to attack. He played really hard on both ends of the floor. The aggressiveness of Jonathan Simmons was very contagious. That said, it was a very good team game for them. I just thought he was the catalyst.”
LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Tim Duncan finished with 14 points and 10 boards for the Spurs, one game after going scoreless for the first time in his 19-year career. He received a nice round of applause from the crowd when he went to the bench with 5:43 left.
The Spurs improved to 30-6 and joined defending champion Golden State as the only teams to reach 30 wins already this season.
“(It’s) the same thing. They move the ball. They play good defense,” said Milwaukee’s Greg Monroe, who had 15 points and eight rebounds. “They have a championship pedigree. They know what it takes to win. Every night they play hard, they play together. They trust each other.”
San Antonio was without starting point guard Tony Parker due to right hip soreness, but still won its 27th game in the last 31.
Patty Mills, filling in for Parker, and Leonard engineered a 9-2 run that gave the Spurs an 18-point lead late in the third quarter. 76ers 109, T-Wolves 99
In Philadelphia, Ish Smith had 21 points and 11 assists, and Richaun Holmes scored 17 to lead Philadelphia over Minnesota. Cavaliers 122, Raptors 100
In Cleveland, Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 25 points, J.R. Smith had 24 on eight 3-pointers. Celtics 103, Nets 94
In New York, Jae Crowder scored a career-high 25 points with a strong start and a clutch finish, and Boston beat Brooklyn to split a home-and-home series.
Pistons 115, Magic 89
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Andre Drummond had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Detroit rolled to its most lopsided victory of the season. Heat 103, Pacers 100 (OT)
In Miami, Chris Bosh scored 31 points, Dwyane Wade had 27 including a layup that beat the buzzer and forced overtime, and the Heat erased an 18-point third-quarter deficit to beat Indiana. Kings 116, Thunder 104
In Oklahoma City, DeMarcus Cousins had 33 points and a season-high 19 rebounds, and Sacramento took advantage of Kevin Durant’s absence to beat Oklahoma City. Rockets 93, Jazz 91
In Salt Lake City, James Harden scored 30 points and Houston rallied in the second half to beat Utah, ending its longest losing streak of the season at four games. Warriors 111, Hornets 101
In Oakland, Draymond Green became the second Warriors player ever to post three straight triple-doubles and Golden State rolled to its 35th straight regular-season home win. Grizzlies 91, Trail Blazers 78
In Portland, Zach Randolph had 26 points and 18 rebounds off the bench, and Memphis beat the Trail Blazers.