Spurs-Bulls Preview

San Antonio Spurs Status Check:
Record: 24-10
Division: 8-3
Conference: 18-8
Home Record: 13-1
Last 10 Games: 9-1
Streak: Won 1
Last game: 114-99 win over Denver
PPG: 99.3 (4th)
Opponents PPG: 95.6 (15th)
Offensive Rating: 107.3 (5th)
Defensive Rating: 103.3 (16th)
Pace: 91.4 (16th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .508 (4th)
Turnover Percentage: .127 (2nd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .757 (2nd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: . 238 (27th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .192 (24th)
Opp. eFG%: .493 (23rd)
Opp. TO%: .132 (23rd)
Opp. FT/FGA: .169 (1st)
Leading scorer: Tony Parker (19.4)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Spurs Injury Report:
T.J. Ford: out 4-6 weeks (torn hamstring)
Manu Ginobili: expected to miss 2 weeks strained oblique)
Kawhi Leonard: questionable for the game against Chicago (strained calf)
Tiago Splitter: questionable for game against Chicago (strained calf)
Gary Neal: questionable for game against Chicago (sore hamstring)

The Bulls snuck out a hard fought win last night, stopping the Hornets when it really mattered, with two huge blocks and a steal.

After struggling for a win over New Orleans, one of the worst teams in the West (although a team with a lot of fight in them), Chicago has to travel to face San Antonio, one of the best of the West. Their 24-10 record puts them second in their conference, three games behind Oklahoma City.

Derrick Rose had a game high 32 points and nine assists against the Hornets, and it was also nice to see Rip Hamilton get off the bench and play the game of basketball finally(he was passing very well with five assists). Joakim Noah had a manly double-double of 15 points and 16 rebounds, while Luol Deng had 14 points and eleven boards of his own.

There may be some fatigue tonight for the Bulls, with big minutes from Deng (42), Rose (41) and Noah (39). Chicago is 9-2 with no rest this season, though.

And more good news: Derrick Rose killed the Spurs last year, averaging 37.5 points on 60 percent shooting to go with six assists (his highest point average against any team last season). In the second match-up Rose tied a career high with 42 points, to go along with eight assists and five rebounds.

Tony Parker didn’t too bad himself, averaging 23.5 points, on 57.1 percent shooting and 5.5 assists. This was tied for Parker’s highest average against any opponent. The Bulls and Spurs split their match-ups last year.

Parker is averaging 25.4 points and 9.2 rebounds over his last ten games. He’s averaging 19.4 points and 8.1 assists for the season.

Even though the Bulls might be a little winded, the Spurs haven’t played since Thursday, a win over the Nuggets. DeJuan Blair led the way with 28 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs.

San Antonio is the hottest team in the league right now. The Spurs have won 12 of their last 13, losing only to Portland in that time. During that stretch they beat the Thunder, Sixers, Grizzlies (twice) and Clippers, so they aren’t just beating up on bottom feeders, although they did their fair share of that as well beating the Hornets, Nets, Pistons, Raptors and Jazz. Nine of these 12 wins came on the road.

So the Spurs were just hitting their stride when the All Star break came. Could the days off slow the Spurs smoking hot stretch? Or will it help rest their older legs?

Well that might not come in to play. Even though the Spurs were just hitting their stride in general, they’ve been good at home all year. San Antonio is 13-1 at home so far, outscoring opponents by an average of 12.1 points. They only allow 89.4 points at home (tonight opens a seven game homestand for San Antonio).

Battle on the boards: The Spurs are one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the league, grabbing just 9.9 per game (28th in the league). The Bulls are tied for second at 13.2 offensive rebounds per contest. But San Antonio protects their defensive glass, coming in at second in defensive rebounding percentage (.757).

Chicago grabbed 15 offensive rebounds against New Orleans, and needed every single one of them to get the win. They’ll need a better overall showing; especially from their bench (the Bulls’ bench got outscored 39-18), but the offensive glass is always key for the Bulls.

Injury: The injury tables may have changed for the Bulls. While Chicago is mostly healthy, the Spurs could be without Manu Ginobili, Gary Neal, Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter

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