The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls, 120-104, surviving a menacing streak in the fourth quarter and ending their four-game losing streak, the highest of the season.
Jakob Poeltl led Silver and Black with 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, closely followed by 17 points from DeMar DeRozan. Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls with 21 points and nine rebounds.
- Gregg Popovich earned his 1,300th career victory, joining Hall of Famers Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson as the only players in NBA history to achieve that seal. Pop is not only the fastest skipper to reach 1,300 wins, but he is the only one to accomplish this feat with a singular organization. While the San Antonio head coach for a long time won’t surpass Wilkens or Nelson this year, he should move to first place all-time sometime next season.
- The Spurs nearly gave their fans a heart attack in the fourth quarter, allowing the Bulls to return to the game after leading by up to 35 points. Chicago and San Antonio did the same song and dance in their last meeting, with the good guys overcoming a 23-point deficit to get the dubbing. Although head coach Billy Donovan and company closed the mattress in the single digits, San Antonio ultimately avoided a fierce comeback.
- Patty Mills passed a pair of former Chicago Bulls teammates on her way to the NBA’s all-time three-point rankings. The sixth man from San Antonio edged out Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich for 76th place, taking the 1,173rd trifecta of his career early in the final frame. Patty is now on her way to surpassing a trio of Spurs alumni Marco Belinelli, Hedo Turkoglu and Stephen Jackson at the end of the season.
- Devin Vassell sprained his ankle in the second quarter and never returned to the game. The injury came in an unfortunate misstep away from the ball that ended in one and one for the Bulls. There hasn’t been an update on how long this setback could put the rookie out, although it was encouraging to see Vassell walk off the court without any help.
- Pop used the challenge of his only coach in the second quarter to disallow a wrongly shot on Rudy Gay. And while it was nice to see two Denzel Valentine’s free throws exchanged for a jump, it’s moments like these that make me think that a successful challenge should give you another challenge.
- The Spurs looked like a completely different team than the one shown against the Clippers on Thursday night. San Antonio was locked in on the defensive end, holding Chicago just 20 points behind 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 shocked after Jakob Poeltl led the Spurs in scoring against Chicago. Aside from several glitches on the charity strip, the Austrian Center was pretty much perfect in every other aspect of the tour. The block lobster posted a Tim Duncanesque stat line of 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Poeltl even made a pair of free throws in the deciding moment after Chicago changed the Hack-a-Shaq tactic.
- Zach LaVine was probably ecstatic when the Bulls acquired Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline earlier this week, but his debut was anything but picturesque. Although the All-Star duo combined for 39 points on 15 of 31 pitches, their cold start put Chicago in a huge hole that they ultimately couldn’t overcome. It was fun watching the Spurs play spoiler, but this team could be a dangerous sixth, seventh or eighth seed in the playoffs.
- I covered the Austin Spurs during their stint through the G League bubble about a month ago, and Cam Reynolds was one of my favorite players on the list. The Tulane University soft scoring wing showed two-way versatility for the most winning regular-season team in franchise history, and he was ecstatic when San Antonio signed Reynolds to a ten-day contract a day ago. Cam scored his first points with San Antonio on a nifty float, and I keep my fingers crossed that Silver and Black decide to keep Cam for the rest of the season.
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The San Antonio spurs They return to the hardwood on Monday when they begin a two-game miniseries with the Sacramento Kings.