San Antonio 104, Chicago 96
The Bulls have now played the Spurs at their lowest point and their highest (to date) point.
Several weeks ago the Bulls came into San Antonio on the eve of the Rodeo Road Trip with the team just barely holding on to its health and took it to the Spurs, capping off a 3-game losing streak, the longest of the season. Things seemed bleak. The RRT provided some inspiration; a little bit of health thrown in after the All-Star break, and the ship was righted.
Now with the roster at full strength for the first time in months and gearing up for another playoff run, the Spurs machine is humming. The first half of tonight’s game was a display of just how powerful and devastating that machine can be. It was near-perfect basketball. The offense was getting any shot it wanted from anywhere (against arguably the best defense in the league), and the defense was stifling, holding the Bulls to contested shots and no second-chance opportunities. It was an awesome display, and one reflected in the halftime score.
For all intents and purposes, the game was over. The Spurs were bound to cool off a bit (and play the odds and rest key players for Wednesday’s key game against the Blazers), and the Bulls were going to make a push. I wouldn’t pay much attention to that 4th quarter, played mostly between middle-to-end of the benches. Pop could have easily put his best players back in to finish the game off. In a sort of gentleman’s agreement, neither coach went back to their stars or starters, and the game ended much closer than it ever was, but a dominating win nonetheless.
There’s not much more to say. It was a perfect half of regular season basketball. It was a convincing win against a really good (and hot) team.
And they’ll wake up tomorrow and do it again. The Blazers come to town for the final meeting of the season. Portland has given us fits for several years, but they are struggling right now and sinking in the Western Conference standings. I thought the Spurs would be well served to win one of these two games, so, in some respects, they are playing with house money right now. Still, I think this is a real opportunity to get another solid win.
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