Chicago Bulls vs San Antonio Spurs: Takeaways & Star Performer
By Michael Rehome
The San Antonio Spurs (55-10) continue their historic start to the season as they defeated the Chicago Bulls (32-31) 109-101 in a thriller on Thursday night.
A team that can care less about milestones or being the talk of the sports, the Spurs are continuing to play their style of basketball. San Antonio started their five game homestand off with a dramatic win. Kawhi Leonard (29), LaMarcus Aldridge (26) and Tony Parker (20) combined for 75 of the teams 109 points.
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Leonard and Aldridge continue their tear on opponents playing great basketball and complimenting each other really well. Parker, whom missed the teams win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday with a bruised toe, was showing no ill-effects.
San Antonio is off to its best start after 65 games at 55-10 and extended their franchise-record home winning streaks. Dating back to last season, they have now won 40 straight including 31-0 this season.
Parker and the team know the historic run their team is having, but simply down-played it postgame.
“It’s a record season yes, but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t go all the way,” Parker said.
Definitely the prize is winning the NBA Title for the sixth time in franchise history. In Parker’s words, you can set records and milestones but what does it really mean when you are not raising the trophy at the end of all the fight.
A hobbled Chicago team put San Antonio’s home streak in jeopardy despite playing without Jimmy Butler and Joakim Noah.
The Bulls remained within six points in the opening six minutes of the fourth quarter. Second attempts would cost Chicago as they had no answer in keeping the Spurs at bay.
Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol had 21 points each for the Bulls. E’Twaun Moore had 20 points, going 4 for 5 on 3-pointers.
Leonard finished 10 for 15 from the field, but only had five free throw attempts. He is starting to get a lot of praise from legends to current players. Teammate Tim Duncan expressed his thoughts on Leonard’s play this season.
“His comfort level and his frustration are the same. He’s had an incredible year thus far and he’s starting to feel that he needs a little more respect than he’s getting. That he can make the plays that he’s making if he’s allowed the opportunity.”
Leonard is asked to put the defensive clamp on opposing teams best options. He did defend Rose early in the first quarter. His length cause Rose to cause some not-so high-percentage shots. Rose went 2-of-7 in the first quarter.
Parker as stated coming back from a one-game absence had good movement and showed no signs of any lingering effects. Parker was defended by Rose and tired the Bulls guard out as he does running around screens and punishing his defenders body by running him into screens.
In the first half it was apparent that Parker was looking to get his teammates involved with his passes, in the second, being offensive-minded took to front as he scored 14 in the half.
“In the first half I was more looking to pass,” Parker said. “In the second half (San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich) told me to be more aggressive because they were going on little pick and rolls. So, I started with three or four jump shots, just trying to be aggressive.”
Parker finished with 14 points in the second half.
-Duncan Reaches Another Milestone
Duncan became the sixth player in league history with 15,000 rebounds, completing this midway through the first quarter.
-Defense On Point
Defense did an outstanding job on making the Bulls work on the offensive-end taking contested shots. Rose was held to 9-of-21 shooting. Spurs as a team tallied 14 steals and also had four blocks.
-Leonard Drawing Praise From Scottie Pippen
Bulls Legend tweeted during the game and said some nice words on the Spurs young superstar during the game.
A lot of people compare Kawhi to me & it makes sense. He’s always been elite on D & now he’s killing it offensively. Dominant all-around.
— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) March 11, 2016
Star Performer: Kawhi Leonard
No question. Leonard continues his tear on a remarkable season thus far going finishing with a game-high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting. He also had seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals. His length made it tough for Bulls players to get a good look at their shots.
—Tim Duncan: 7 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals
—David West: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block
—Patty Mills: 5 points, 4 assists
—Manu Ginobili: 4 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound
–Spurs bench outscores Bulls, 46-36