San Antonio played down to the level of the talent-strapped Bulls for much of the game, but late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, they pulled away for a comfortable win behind the solid play of Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge. Manu Ginobili was Manu, and Dejounte Murray had another solid game contributing on both ends after a slow start.
Robin Lopez started the scoring for the Bulls with a lay in, and a Lauri Markkanen triple put them up 5-2, but the Spurs went on a run led by Pau Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge, along with a nifty Kyle Anderson Euro-step layup. Despite the obvious talent difference, the Bulls kept pace with the Silver and Black for most of the period with neither team burning up the nets, but the final brick of the quarter was laid by RoLo and the Bulls led 21-19 after one.
The lackluster offense continued into the second quarter as there appeared to be a lid on the basket on both ends. Late in the quarter, two quick buckets from Rudy Gay and a breakaway steal and dunk from Manu broke up the monotony, and the Spurs led 41-38 at the half. In the quarter, the Bulls matched their first quarter offensive outburst with 19 points, but that was eclipsed with the insane 24 points in 12 minutes offensive explosion from the red hot Spurs. It’s one of the first games where I’ve looked forward more to the commercial breaks than the actual game play. Well, there’s always the second half, eh?
Robin Lopez made the first triple of his career early in the third, but Aldridge started to overpower his man on both ends of the floor, and the defensive intensity picked up. Danny Green’s Tar Heel Triple put the Spurs up by eight halfway through the quarter, and the superior talent of the Silver and Black began to overwhelm the team in red. The Spurs surged ahead with a 13-2 run midway through the quarter. But late in the quarter, the Spurs missed a ton of point blank shots that could have put the game out of reach. They still led 65-55 after three.
The tough defense of the Spurs began to tell on the Bulls as the margin stayed in the double digits. The Bulls made enough buckets in garbage time to make the score look a little more respectable, but they were never able to get it close enough to have a chance. The Spurs won 87-77.
- It looked like the Spurs started the game by putting the ball in LaMarcus Aldridge’s hands. While he got his points, it seemed like the rest of the team had trouble scoring.
- Rudy Gay has never had a reputation as a good defender. That may be changing.
- Kawhi Leonard is such a good actor. When he said he was hurt in the HEB commercial, I was concerned that he might actually have injured himself.
- As great as Dejounte Murray was in the first game, he didn’t start strong tonight. But early in the second half, he assisted Gasol on a layup and that seemed to pick up his confidence for the rest of the game, and he did a great job distributing the ball in the second half. He’s also a very good rebounder.
- The Spurs didn’t hit a three in the first half. The good thing about three point shots is that they count one more point than a two point shot. People don’t talk about that enough.
- Manu Ginobili—the fire still burns. Somebody missed a rotation leading to an easy Bulls basket, and his scowl could have stripped paint. He cares so much. Late in the game with the outcome already decided, he took a charge ... just because he’s Manu.
- Danny Green scored on a couple of drives to the basket. I don’t cringe any more when he does that.
This video was directed by my college buddy Brian Hansen, who died not long after it was released.
The Spurs play the Toronto Raptors on Monday in San Antonio at 7:30 PM. See you on the game thread.