The San Antonio Spurs will be in Prime Time on Christmas Day as they face the Chicago Bulls in the confines of the AT&T Center. They are currently on a road trip that will take them to Los Angeles to face the Clippers tonight and then on to Portland tomorrow to face the Blazers but it’s the prime time game against the Bulls that will get the most attention.
The Spurs are coming off a 102-100 come from behind victory over their IH-10 rivals, the Houston Rockets last night as head coach Gregg Popovich out-coached NBA Brain Mike D’Antoni matching wits and subbing tit for tat every move made.
The Spurs were down by five at the midpoint in the fourth and Houston extended their lead to 96-83 before the Spurs got hot, reeling off 11 points to bring it to 96-94 before the Spurs finally put them away.
”We got a break because they shot terribly,” Ginobili said. ”We did a pretty good job of contesting many of them but they (missed) some open ones, too, and that’s not what they usually do.”
The San Antonio Spurs (18-5, 2nd Western Conference) fell one game short of tying an All Time NBA record last night after falling to the Chicago Bulls (12-10, 7th Eastern Conference) 95-91 at the United Center. The Bulls were led by Dwayne Wade’s 20 points but they had five players in double figures and another three players within a basket of double figures. The Spurs were again led by Kawhi Leonard’s 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
”Streaks are a good sign when they’re positive and they’re a bad sign when they’re negative, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t give you anything else,” Former Bulls center Pau Gasol said.
For Head Coach Gregg Popovich, the loss was coming sooner rather than later because of sloppy first half play in a number of games leading up to the Bulls match last night.
”Our opponents have outplayed us physically and execute-wise in most first halves for most of the season, and somehow we pull it together in the second half and play harder and smarter than we did in the first half,” Popovich said. ”We got it to four, then some execution mistakes. That’s the disappointing part, that we’re not a very consistent team and we haven’t learned as a group the game is 48 minutes.”
At Home this weekend
The Spurs will regroup and take on the Brooklyn Nets (6-15, 14th Eastern Conference) at home tomorrow evening. The Nets are coming off a rare win over the Denver Nuggets (8-15, 11th Western Conference).
The Chicago Bulls came into the AT&T Center needing a win to keep pace with the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They ended up on the wrong end of 109-101 loss. The Pistons upset the Dallas Mavericks with a 102-96 in Big D moving a half game ahead of the Bulls.
In the Spurs victory, Tim Duncan became only the sixth player in NBA history to collect 15K rebounds, which he did midway through the 1st quarter when he received a standing ovation from the loyal Silver & Black crowd.
“I don’t know what they’re supposed to mean,” Duncan said. “They are what they are. Everybody keeps asking how does it feel. I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like. I’ve been at it for a long time. I’m honored to be on a list with these guys and when I look back it will mean a whole lot, but right now I’m just trying to play better, trying to get healthy and trying to help the team.”
The Spurs have little time to dwell over individual accomplishments as they prepare for a hungry Oklahoma City Thunder squad taking the AT&T Center court tomorrow. The Thunder are coming off a 120-108 thrashing of the Los Angeles Clippers and face a Minnesota Timberwolves squad that has won only 20 games.
“If you’re ever going to get better, if you’re ever going to win,” Timberwolves interim coach Sam Mitchell said, “you have to remember the times where you got your butt kicked.”