The San Antonio Spurs came into their rematch with the Chicago Bulls with 4 losses on the trot including an 0-3 start in their record 9 game long home stand. For the 3rd straight game, they were without swingman Lonnie Walker IV, and Pop told the media that he would be out for at least another week. For the Bulls it was their first game with their All-Star addition Nikola Vucevic who started along with Zach LaVine for the first time.
The Spurs, who have been struggling on offense ever since their March 2nd blowout of the Knicks, started the game uncharacteristically fast by scoring 11 points in the first 3 minutes which prompted a timeout by Billy Donovan. Just for fun, all of this points were scored by Team Twenty-nine: our three 29th overall picks — Murray, White and Johnson. All this after the Bulls new man Vuc scored the first bucket of the night. Dejounte Murray started fast and determined. In the first 6 minutes he had 6 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal while hitting all 3 of his shots. He helped the 14-2 early run which gave the Silver & Black an early double digit lead. A great defensive quarter by San Antonio helped them hold the Bulls to 20 and they got out of their previous offensive funk by putting up 33 to end the quarter up 13.
A wild sequence started the 2nd as Drew Eubanks made a crazy save to keep the ball inbounds, it rolled to Dejounte who rushed it up the court and swung it to Rudy who got it to Mills in the corner for a three that forced a Bulls timeout. But San Antonio fans had their hearts in their throats when Devin Vassell, after a pretty turnaround jumper, ran back on defense in some pain and went back to the locker room with what the team announced was a sprained ankle. The Spurs continued their excellent offense and provided some eye popping ball movement to go on a 14-0 run to push the lead to 27 midway through the 2nd. They extended it another 4 points after a timeout and San Antonio had a 30 plus point lead with only 7 points allowed in the first 7 minutes of the frame. Neither team was able to capture any momentum to end the half as the Spurs went into the break up; 65-39.
The Spurs offense showed a little of everything, including a poster when DeMar drove on Patrick Williams and dunked it on his head to start the second half with an exclamation point. The Spurs offense continued the momentum from the first half as San Antonio continued to get buckets with ease while playing hard-nosed defense that forced the Bulls to work for every shot. Zach LaVine turned it on late in the 3rd, scoring all over; from deep, midrange, near the basket and at the free throw line. They brought the lead back down to end the third but still trailed by 23 going into the final quarter.
The Bulls started the 4th the same way the Spurs did in their comeback win against them just a week and a half ago. Chicago pressed the Spurs into mistakes and made San Antonio pay by cashing in. With five minutes left, Chicago pulled within 9 on a Vucevic three — taking the game to single digits for the first time since the early minutes. The Spurs turned to DeRozan who got an and-1, forced a miss from Coby White, and got another and-1 to push the lead back over double figures. The back-to-back 3 point plays helped the Spurs to cruise to a 120-104 victory.
- The Spurs came into the game locked in on the defense. In the first half they only allowed 39 points. They played with a sense of concentration, effort and communication that made it look almost easy. This group of Spurs have the talent to be one of the best defensive teams in the league. And as we know; Defense wins championships.
- Jakob Poeltl had 20 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks. He was brilliant and played very good defense on Vucevic. He could have had a career high in points if he had made more than four of his 10 free throws.
- 7 PLAYERS IN DOUBLE FIGURES. The Spurs went back to what works for them, team play. This allowed for the offense to flow well and players to excel. The players that double digits were; Jak (20), DeMar (17), White (16), Mills (16), Murray (14), Keldon (14), and Rudy (11).
Next game: Kings on Monday, 7:30 PM CT on FSSW.
After San Antonio grabbed their first win of the home stand, the Sacramento Kings come to visit for a 2 game miniseries.