NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, November 17th (All times eastern)
Chicago Bulls (6-3) at San Antonio Spurs (8-1), 9:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs hope to equal the best 10-game start in franchise history tonight when they welcome the Chicago Bulls to the Alamo City.
The Spurs won their seventh straight game and improved to 8-1 for the first time since 2004-05 on Sunday when Tony Parker finished with a game-high 24 points, and Matt Bonner finished with 21 points on a career-best 7-of-7 from three-point range to lead San Antonio to a 117-104 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Manu Ginobili finished with 21 points on 11-of-11 from the free throw line, and Richard Jefferson supplied 18 points in the victory for San Antonio, which could match its franchise record starts from 1980 and 1981 with a win tonight.
Either way, each time the Spurs have opened 8-1 or better they have won their division and the last time they did it the club went on to win the third of its four NBA championships.
"Our defense was excellent in the second half," Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said of the win over the Thunder. "We started the game slowly and put ourselves in a hole, and we dug enough to be in the ball game by halftime ... I thought our defense was very good, maybe the best of the season, and a lot of guys participated in that, so it generated our game."
The Bulls, meanwhile, have also been playing good basketball, winning their fourth straight game in the opener of their annual "Circus road trip," a grueling seven-game odyssey, on Tuesday in Houston.
Derrick Rose had 12 points of a 15-0 run to start the fourth quarter which helped Chicago rally past the Rockets, 95-92.
Rose finished with 33 points and seven assists for Chicago, which will also face Dallas, the LA Lakers, Phoenix, Denver and Sacramento on its trek. Luol Deng added 16 points and 10 rebounds while Joakim Noah had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls.
"We're coming along. We'll take any win," Rose said after the win. "It feels good, but we have a tough game tomorrow [in San Antonio]."
Chicago swept the home-and-home season series with the Spurs a year ago after San Antonio did the same in the previous two seasons.
11/17 10:51:09 ET