(The Sports Xchange) - The San Antonio Spurs went to Chicago on Monday ranked as the NBA’s top defensive team, but the Bulls beat them at their own game.
Led by a stingy defence that held the Spurs to just 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Bulls ended San Antonio’s five-game winning streak with a 92-89 win in their first game back from a four-game road trip.
“To hold that team to 16 fourth-quarter points was a great effort,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.
“They’re obviously a great team with great firepower. They are also one of the great defensive teams in the league. It was one of those nights where everyone who stepped on the floor contributed in a big way.”
Centre Pau Gasol notched his seventh double-double (18 points and 13 rebounds) to lead five Chicago players in double-figures scoring, but it was the Bulls’ stingy defence that ultimately won the game.
Gasol blocked a layup attempt by forward LaMarcus Aldridge with 1:06 left and the game tied 89-89, and then split two free throws at the other end of the floor with 51.2 seconds left to put Chicago ahead for good.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard missed a three-pointer with four seconds left and guard Tony Parker’s last-gasp three-point attempt from the corner was partially blocked by Bulls guard Derrick Rose to end the game.
“I was anticipating Manu (Ginobili) or Kawhi to make a play and take the shot,” Gasol said. “Kawhi is their go-to guy pretty much, and Jimmy (Butler) did an incredible job contesting the shot. And then they got the corner shot, which was very well contested and we got a piece of it and won the game.”
The Spurs (14-4) lost for just the second time in 11 games, while the Bulls (10-5) rebounded from a 104-92 road loss on Friday to the Indiana Pacers.
Butler had 14 points, Rose and forward Tony Snell each added 11, reserve guard Doug McDermott had 12 points, and centre Joakim Noah had eight points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Leonard led all scorers with 25 points and Aldridge had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs. Parker finished with 13 points and forward Tim Duncan had six points and 12 rebounds.
Editing by Patrick Johnston