The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls 120-104, surviving a menacing run in the fourth quarter and ending their four-game losing streak.
Jakob Poeltl punctuated Silver and Black with 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, followed closely by 17 points from DeMar DeRozan. Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls with 21 points and nine boards.
- Gregg Popovich scored the 1300th victory of his career, joining Hall of Fame members Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson as the only players in NBA history to reach that mark. Not only is Pop the fastest skipper to reach 1,300 victories, but he is the only one to achieve this feat with a singular organization. While the longtime San Antonio head coach won’t overtake Wilkens or Nelson this year, he is expected to be in the all-time top spot next season.
- Spurs nearly gave their fans a heart attack in the fourth quarter, allowing the Bulls to return to the game after leading by as many as 35 points. Chicago and San Antonio did that same song and dance the last time they met, with the good guys overcoming a 23-point deficit to pull the dub out. Although head coach Billy Donovan and his company close the single-digit cushion, San Antonio has ultimately avoided a fierce comeback attempt.
- Patty Mills passed two former Chicago Bulls teammates on her rise in the NBA all-time three-point standings. The sixth man from San Antonio passed Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich for 76th place, winning the 1173rd line of his career early in the final quarter. Patty is now set to overtake a trio of former Spurs students Marco Belinelli, Hedo Turkoglu and Stephen Jackson by the end of the season.
- Devin Vassell sprained his ankle in the second quarter and never returned to the game. The injury came on an unfortunate misstep away from the ball that ended in a one-and-one for the Bulls. There has been no update on how long this setback could sideline the rookie, although it is encouraging to see Vassell come off the field without any help.
- Pop used his lone coach’s challenge in the second quarter to reverse a mistaken shooting foul on Rudy Gay. And while it was nice to see two Denzel Valentine’s free throws traded for a ball, it’s times like these that make me think that a successful challenge should earn you another challenge.
- The Spurs looked like a completely different team than the one that showed against the Clippers on Thursday night. San Antonio was stuck on the defensive end, holding Chicago to just 20 points in the first quarter. They also maintained excellent ball movement throughout the opening frame, with eight assists and four players scoring at least five points. And their 33 points were three more than they had in the entire second half against Los Angeles.
- You can color me surprised after Jakob Poeltl led Spurs against Chicago. Aside from several misfires from the charity strip, the Austrian Center was practically perfect in every other aspect of the outing. The Block Lobster recorded a Tim Duncanesque stat line of 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Poeltl even reversed a few free throws after Chicago changed the Hack-a-Shaq tactic.
- Zach LaVine was probably ecstatic when the Bulls acquired Nikola Vucevic on the trade deadline earlier this week, but their debut was anything but picturesque. Although the All-Star duo had 39 points on 15 of 31 shots, their icy start put Chicago in a massive hole that they ultimately failed to overcome. It was fun to witness the Spurs game spoiler, but this team could be a dangerous sixth, seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs.
- I covered the Austin Spurs when they were in the G League bubble about a month ago, and Cam Reynolds was one of my favorite players on the roster. Tulane University’s fluid scoring wing showed two-way versatility for the most successful regular season team in franchise history, and I was elated when San Antonio signed a contract. ten days with Reynolds a day ago. Cam got his first points with San Antonio on a nifty float, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the Silver and Black decide to keep Cam for the rest of the season.
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the San antonio spurs return to hardwood on Monday as they kick off a two-game miniseries with the Sacramento Kings.