On Tuesday the San Antonio Spurs maintained their first-place status in the Western Conference with a 104-96 victory at the Chicago Bulls.
Don’t be confused by the final score because the game was ultimately decided during the first period when San Antonio led Chicago 38-14. The Bulls’ second unit did its best to catch the Spurs napping a little bit late to pull within eight points a few times, but the burst proved “to be too little too late.”
Still, San Antonio led wire-to-wire due to a balanced attack and feisty defense. The Spurs got 22 points from Manu Ginobili, 20 from Tony Parker and 16 from Kawhi Leonard while connecting on 12-of-21 three-pointers as a team. San Antonio held Chicago to 42.7 percent shooting while making more than half of their shots and turned 12 Bulls turnovers into 19 points.
The closest Chicago came after the Spurs scored the first seven points of the evening was on Kirk Hinrich’s trey 3:12 into the contest. Parker scored four quick points though to steer momentum back the visitor’s way. Parker’s 18-foot jump shot 32 seconds later triggered a 12-0 run to push San Antonio in front 23-6.
The Bulls altogether during the first period had five made shots with three from deep and one an old-fashion three-point play. Parker made six field goals alone for 16 first-quarter points while Leonard and Ginobili chipped in 10 and eight and old reliable Tim Duncan knocked down his only two shots of the game for four points.
After Chicago hit their first two second-period field goals the Bulls misfired on six of their next seven shots to wind up trailing by 32 points on four separate occasions. The Spurs’ clinical defense however relaxed during the third quarter to allow the same offensive output, 33 points, that Chicago manufactured during the first half.
The Bulls outscored San Antonio 30-14 during the final frame although by that time Gregg Popovich had pulled the plug on Duncan and Parker. Soon Ginobili and Leonard followed finding a seat by Popovich who never panicked despite a 14-1 Chicago run followed by a 14-4 burst to close the contest.
Ending a little later on Tuesday were the Oklahoma City Thunder who fought off the Houston Rockets 106-98 in a prize fight that featured two of the best teams the Western Conference has to offer. The Spurs, who may rest a few players, meanwhile welcome in the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday seeking their eighth win in a row and more importantly try staying in front of Oklahoma City for the best record in the West.
Tags: San Antonio Spurs