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Game Preview: San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls

Spurs continue Midwest road trip in Chicago.

Chicago Bulls v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs have looked like an improving team as of late, snapping their losing streak against the Los Angeles Lakers, and competing with the Milwaukee Bucks despite not having their star rookie. As the Silver and Black continue their road trip, they should get Victor Wembanyama back in a matchup against the Chicago Bulls.

In the Spurs last game against the Bulls, they were crushed on the glass, and allowed the Bulls to shoot a high percentage from three in a 121-112 loss. Chicago will be on the second game of a back-to-back after defeating the Lakers on Wednesday night. San Antonio will look to bounce back against a Bulls squad that has had a rocky start to their season.

San Antonio Spurs (4-22) at Chicago Bulls (12-17)

December 21, 2023 | 7 PM CT

Watch: Bally | Listen: WOAI (1200 AM)

Spurs Injuries: Charles Bassey – Out (left ACL,) Charles Bediako – Out (G League,) Sidy Cissoko – Questionable (G League,) David Duke Jr. – Out (G League,) Keldon Johnson – Probable (low back,) Victor Wembanyama – Probable (right ankle)

Bulls Injuries: Do not need to submit their lineup until 1 p.m. CT on December 21.

What to watch for

Win the battle on the boards

When the Spurs played the Bulls on December 8, they allowed Chicago to grab 24 offensive rebounds – the most they’ve allowed this season. Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond grabbed 16 of those. The Spurs lost the total rebound battle by 12. The Bulls play a slow paced game in the half court. Giving them extra offensive possessions is playing into their plan. The Spurs must control the glass if they want to take down the Bulls on their home court.

Guarding the perimeter

The Bulls lit up the Spurs in their last contest, shooting 46.4% from three. Coby White and Torrey Craig were lights out, each hitting five of their seven threes. While Craig is sidelined with a foot injury, the Bulls have plenty of shooters that can fill it up from deep, as the team shoots 36.8% from three. San Antonio will need to shut down Chicago’s drive and kick game, which burned the Spurs in their last matchup.

Getting to the basket

The Spurs have been improving steadily as an offense since switching to a new starting five that features Wembanyama at the center position. Part of that improvement has been the increased aggression from Devin Vassell and Keldon Johnson. Both of the wings have made a concerted effort to get into the paint more. Chicago is 22nd in the NBA in defensive rating and don’t have a rim protector to stop the Spurs at the basket. An aggressive Spurs squad should get plenty of paint touches against this Bulls team.