The Spurs head into the Windy City looking to rebound from a disappointing loss in Milwaukee two nights ago. Pop has the team playing .500 ball, but don’t let wins and losses fool you, the Silver & Black are playing well.
Although they have dropped three of their last four, two were on the tail end of back-to-back games and looked quite winnable until the good guys just ran out of gas.
They are now facing a hectic schedule with not more than one day off between games for the next month. Along with injuries, that will test the mettle of this San Antonio for the remainder of the year.
November 26th, 2018 | 7:00 CT
Watch: FSSW | Listen: WOAI
San Antonio Spurs (9-10) at Chicago Bulls (5-15)
San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray (torn right ACL), Lonnie Walker IV (meniscus), Pau Gasol (foot soreness).
Chicago Bulls: Lauri Markkanen (elbow).
The Bulls are singing the blues. They have lost key players to injury. Which team hasn’t, but when your teams is coming off 27-55 season, injuries don’t help what is already not working.
In the interim, the Bulls have embraced small ball. Two point guards - Zach LaVine (6’5”) and Ryan Arcidiacono (6’3”) - have been matched up with SG Justin Holiday (6’6”), PF Jabari Parker (6’8”), and PF Wendell Carter Jr. At 6’10”, Carter Jr. is the tallest starter on the Bulls, and this should be a game that LaMarcus Aldridge can be dominant in the post. It’s been a trend that #12 has to score at least 20 points for the Spurs to win, so his dominance inside should be a critical factor for the Spurs success.
The guard matchup is critical. Bryn Forbes on Arcidiacono have similar heights and pacing (and I believe played together in Summer League) while DeRozan and LaVine are the high scorers and leaders of their respective teams. These could be two of the closest match-ups Spurs fans have seen thus far.
The Spurs have to take each game one a a time, and today is the only day that matters in the game. The Bulls come in with a 5-15 record, which should serve as its own warning - do not take this game lightly. It’s the scrappy teams with nothing to lose that often embarrass the Spurs in at least one game every year. And the Bulls have done that before, so if they do, it shouldn’t be a surprise.
Justin Holiday plays on this team. It’s the third Holiday the Spurs have met in a week, and these brothers are not to be taken lightly. The elder Holiday is currently averaging career highs in points, assist, rebounds, and steals. Currently playing the three in their small ball line up, this may be a fun match-up against Rudy Gay.
If you were looking forward to a Michigan Spartans face off, you will be disappointed. While Bryn Forbes is thriving as his role as the starting point guard, Denzel Valentine went from out for two weeks, to four weeks, to six months. A bone bruise has kept the guard from suiting up.
Even healthy, Valentine was not the guard to fear. As mentioned Zach LaVine is top dog on this squad. He dropped 28 points in their loss to Minnesota two nights ago. His 25.5 ppg average is not a fluke and the Spurs will need to get a handle on his scoring if they want to win this game.
As for the bench, giving Jakob Poeltl minutes while Robin Lopez is on the floor will go a long way to improving this guy’s game and give LMA some much needed rest. Otherwise, the Bulls bench is not a factor in their favor. The Spurs bench should feast and bring home a win.
Otherwise, what are they doing up there in the cold? [Ed. note: Sean Elliott agrees, he hates going to cold weather cities in the winter.]
Vegas odds: Spurs by 5
Game Prediction: Spurs by 17 (what can I say, it’s my thing)
For the Bulls’ fan’s perspective, check out Blog a Bull.