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San Antonio at Chicago, Final Score: Spurs melt down in fourth quarter, fall 120-109

DeMar DeRozan’s 19 fourth-quarter points lift the Bulls over the Silver and Black

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Spurs matched up with the Chicago Bulls in the fourth game of San Antonio’s Rodeo Road Trip, suffering a 120-109 loss. It was a close contest throughout, with 13 lead changes, six ties and Chicago waiting until the last minute of the game to take its biggest lead.

The Silver and Black ended the third quarter with an 89-83 lead but had no answer for DeMar DeRozan, who scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and ended the game leading all scorers with 40. Chicago also got a big lift from Nikola Vucevic with 25 points and Coby White with 24.

Lonnie Walker led the Spurs with 21 points off the bench, followed by Dejounte Murray and Doug McDermott with 19 each. Murray posted his third-straight game with double-digit assists, handing out 11 in the game. Keldon Johnson and Jakob Poeltl added 13 points each.

Observations

  • Both teams presented their own challenges for the opposing defenses early, with the Spurs struggling to keep the Bulls off the offensive glass, and San Antonio dominating the paint on the other end. When the Spurs were able to control the pace for the first three quarters, they got almost any look they wanted around the rim, but once the game slowed down to the Bulls’ pace in the fourth quarter, they were able to contain the Spurs in halfcourt sets.
  • The Spurs dominated a lot of the hustle stats in this game, winning points in the paint 70-52, 20-8 in points off turnovers, and 9-3 in steals. The main hustle stat the Bulls won (besides rebounds, 53-33) was fast break points at just a 15-11 advantage. That last stat may not seem like a lot, but a few of those points came during a key stretch in the final two minutes with the Spurs still just down by three. A bad pass by McDermott led to a Vucevic layup, and on the next possession the Bulls got a free throw out of a bad Murray pass. That may just be three points, but Chicago already had so much momentum by then that it essentially sealed the game.
  • It was good to see Lonnie Walker playing with confidence for his second game in row after an extremely rough four-game stretch. He flew to the rim against the Bulls’ defense and wasn’t afraid to take some outside shots, hitting 2-4 threes. He has 24 games left (at least) to convince the Spurs (or someone else) that he’ll be worth more than his qualifying offer this summer, and these last two games have been a good start.
  • Josh Primo briefly got thrown into the fire with the task of guarding DeRozan right as he morphed into his fourth quarter self and went off. DeRozan wasted no time going at the rookie with his hard drives and classic pump fakes, and Primo was soon rotated off him on defense and eventually replaced with Walker. This was certainly a situation where the Spurs missed Derrick White’s defense, although “Fourth Quarter DeMar” is always hard to stop.
  • Speaking of which, none of the new Spurs played tonight, even though they had all arrived in Chicago for the game. It’s understandable considering outside of Tomas Satoransky, they haven’t had any practice time together, but it still was maybe a little surprising to not at least see Josh Richardson take the floor since he should be a main part of the rotation going forward. Hopefully he gets some time in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, otherwise we won’t see him until after the All Star break.

For the Bulls fans’ perspective, visit Blog a Bull.

The Spurs will tip off in Oklahoma City on Wednesday against the Thunder at 7:00 Pm CT on Bally Sports SW-SA.