Chicago Bulls vs San Antonio SpursAT&T Center, San Antonio, TX
January 28, 2014, 8:30 PM Spurs Time
TV: KENS/ESPN- RADIO: 1200 AM WOAI
Nothing may be as dreadful to a depleted team dealing with injuries than a back-to-back. The Spurs are without question a depleted team with three starters out with injuries, but after facing offensive threats like Miami on Sunday and Houston last night, a home-game against an offensively challenged Chicago squad may be just what the doctor ordered.
Oklahoma City is starting to pull away a bit in the West and the Spurs may not have the healthy horses in the stable to race towards the top spot. San Antonio can, however, keep pace and make sure the first round of the playoffs takes place at home and games against teams like Chicago, even with the injuries, are the types of games that the Spurs must continue to win.
The knock on San Antonio this season has been its performances against top teams in the league. The Spurs have just one win against a team that would be considered one of the six or seven top teams in the league. Despite that, the Spurs have done an excellent job of beating the teams it should and the Bulls register as one of those teams, even with Tiago Splitter, Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard unable to suit up for the good guys.
The Bulls are 22-22 and the definition of average in a lot of ways. In fairness, the recent injury history of Derrick Rose has derailed all real title hopes in Chicago. This team was built to have an explosive, scoring point guard and the Bulls just don't have the fire-power on the rest of the roster to make up for his absence. Chicago is 29th in the league in points per game, scoring 92.8 points per game. Chicago is coming off of a 95-86 loss to Minnesota, a team not known for its defense. When Chicago traded Luol Deng for little in return, the towel had unofficially been thrown in on this season.
All you need to know about the Bulls' offense is that Carlos Boozer is currently the number one option on that side of the floor. He has performed better this season and even had a 20/20 performance in the loss to Minnesota, but he isn't a guy that can carry an offense in today's NBA. Boozer is Chicago's leading active scorer with 15.1 points per game. Next on that list? D.J. Augustin with 13.6. Starting to see where the issues for the Bulls lie?
One thing that can be said positively about the Chicago offense is that it is balanced. Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy and Joakim Noah, who missed Chicago's last game with an illness, all average in double-figures. The problem is that none of them are truly capable of exploding for 30 points in a game. The Bulls are a team full of grinders and role players, a perfect team for the Spurs to face right now. The Bulls shoot 42 percent from the floor and average just six three-pointers per game.
As always, the Bulls are still a very good defensive team. Chicago gives up just 92.9 points a game, which is second best in the league. They're also sixth in the league in total rebounding. Boozer, and Noah when he is in the lineup, still make it tough for opponents to get in the lane. More so than the individual defenders, the team defense of Chicago still remains one of the best in the league. The rotations are usually on point and the defensive rebounding prevents opponents from getting easy second chances.
The Bulls are not at all a bad team, but it is a team that the Spurs should beat even without a lot of the supporting cast. Chicago won't put as much pressure on the depleted and struggling San Antonio defense, so this may be a matchup that is as advantageous as possible for the Spurs on the second night of a back-to-back.
Matchup to watch: This game will come down to the ability of San Antonio to produce offense. If the Spurs can get to 100 points the Bulls have very little chance to keep up. If Chicago can turn this into an alley fight with no flow, it has a chance.
Game Prediction: Spurs by 6
Line in Vegas: Spurs by 7 1/2
As always Tony must dominate Fisher, and NBA league pass is recommended for those who are willing to pony up the cash. Almost every Spurs game will be broadcast there, which is especially helpful for those of us who aren't in the San Antonio area. Please don't post links to illegal game feeds in the game thread. Links to illegal feeds are not permitted on SBNation, but you can probably find them out there on the internets if you're resourceful and desperate.
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