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News » Ex-Bucks stop here

Ex-Bucks stop here

Ex-Bucks stop here Eight months ago, the Spurs and Mavericks engaged in a five-game, first-round playoff series that, for citizens of San Antonio, was pretty forgettable. For a pair of soon-to-be-former Milwaukee Bucks, meanwhile, the 2009 postseason might as well not have happened at all.

Keith Bogans decompressed at his house in Orlando, Fla. Richard Jefferson returned home to California, and ignored the NBA altogether.

"I was going through a bout of depression at the time, because we didn't make the playoffs," Jefferson said. "I tried to tune out Basketball."

On Wednesday night, Jefferson and Bogans found themselves squarely in the middle of the I-35 rivalry. There was no place else they'd rather be.

Jefferson poured in a season-high 29 points, and Bogans added 13 and made life miserable for any Maverick he guarded, as the Spurs bulldozed their way to a 92-83 victory at the AT&T Center.

The victory was the second in a row for the Spurs (4-3) with All-Stars Tony Parker and Tim Duncan sidelined. At the center of it stood a pair of players who this offseason swapped the green-and-white of Milwaukee for the silver-and-black of the Spurs .

Jefferson arrived in a June 23 trade. Bogans came later, signing a week before training camp. In the Spurs' first game against Dallas since that postseason flop, two ex-Bucks each provided their own brand of spark.

Jefferson scored on breakneck drives, at one point cementing himself as the Spurs' best dunker since Matt Bonner. Bogans clamped down, alternately, on Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd and J.J. Barea - none of whom shot better than 50 percent from the field.

"That's what Keith Bogans does," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said.

Bogans also did something Keith Bogans doesn't. After totaling 16 points his first five games, he hit three first-half 3-pointers as the Spurs built a 51-38 lead at intermission.

The Spurs' starting lineup Wednesday consisted of four players who were not around for last April's ouster against the Mavs.

The first player off the bench for the Spurs was Manu Ginobili, who missed the series with a stress fracture in his right ankle.

Another of the new guys, Antonio McDyess, had nine points and nine rebounds, and was a key reason Dirk Nowitzki missed all but nine of his 27 shots. Nowitzki finished with 29 points and 12 rebounds, but it was an ugly double-double.

The Spurs , who ranked near the bottom of most defensive categories heading into the night, won behind their best defensive game of the season.

One game after giving up 58 percent and 124 points in a victory over Toronto, the Spurs limited Dallas to just 35.4 percent.

Ahead by 13 entering the fourth quarter, the Spurs knew the Mavs had one more rally in them. After all, they had Nowitzki, who eight nights earlier had scored 29 fourth-quarter points against Utah.

The Spurs managed just one field goal over the first 8:57 of the final quarter, and Dallas (5-3) closed to within 83-79 after Terry's 3-pointer with 4:22 left. Bonner stopped the drought with a 3-pointer, off a pass out of a Jefferson post-up.

Jefferson followed that with a dunk to douse the Dallas rally.

In the victorious locker room afterward, a pair of former Bucks celebrated. Bogans lauded Jefferson as one of his all-time least-favorite defensive assignments.

"I always hated guarding him," Bogans said. "I'm glad I'm on his team now."

Jefferson, as is his way, joked there was a reason for that.

"Keith typically got in foul trouble every time he tried to guard me," Jefferson said, with Bogans two stalls over. "That's why he didn't like it."

As laughter died down after the punchline, Jefferson said something the rest of the Spurs will agree with today.

"We definitely benefit from having each other on the same side," he said.

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Added: November 13, 2009


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