Bulls battle Spurs
March 11, 2014
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San Antonio Spurs (46-16) at Chicago Bulls (35-28)
Sportsbook.ag Tip-off: Tuesday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: San Antonio -5, Total: 190.5
The Bulls look to win two huge games in a row when they host the streaking Spurs on Tuesday night.
San Antonio continues to be a powerhouse in the NBA despite its aging superstars and has won six straight games SU (3-3 ATS) coming into this one. They have scored more than 110 points in five of those games including a 121-112 win as 15.5-point favorites against the Magic on Saturday night. The Spurs shot an efficient 53.1% from the field in the game (9-of-20 threes) and each of the starters scored in double-digits. Chicago has remained a tough team to play against even after losing PG Derrick Rose to injury for another year and trading away SF Luol Deng to the Cavaliers. The Bulls have been victorious both SU and ATS in six of their past eight games played including a big 95-88 overtime victory over the Heat on Sunday. Chicago held the NBA's top shooting team to just 40.5% FG and limited LeBron James to 8-for-23 FG on the night. San Antonio plays well wherever it goes, as evidenced by the best road record in the league (23-8 SU, 74%) while producing a strong 18-13 ATS mark (58%, 9th in NBA).
The Bulls are solid at United Center though, with a home record of 19-11 SU and 16-14 ATS this season. When these teams first met this season on Jan. 29, Chicago stole a 96-86 win as 7.5-point road underdogs, outrebounding the Spurs by eight (39-31) and forcing 19 turnovers in the game. These teams have split the four games they have played over the past three seasons (both SU and ATS), but San Antonio still holds a commanding 21-12 SU edge (19-14 ATS) since 1996, which includes an 11-5 SU mark (10-6 ATS) in Chicago. The Spurs have also been good to bettors after scoring 105+ points for two straight games, as they are 32-12 ATS (73%) in all such games over the past three seasons. Meanwhile, Tom Thibodeau is 90-64 ATS (58%) after playing a home game as the Bulls head coach. The only significant injury between the two teams is still PG Derrick Rose (knee), who is out the entire season for the Bulls.
San Antonio has scored 104.6 PPG (7th in NBA) this season while ranking second in the league in both shooting (48.9% FG) and assists (25.0 APG). The Spurs have been even more dominant during their six-game win surge, scoring an incredible 113.0 PPG (49.7% FG) while holding opponents to 99.7 PPG, which is not as strong as their season average of 98.1 PPG (6th in NBA) given up. PG Tony Parker (17.8 PPG, 6.2 APG) broke out against Orlando for 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting while also dishing out five assists. Over 21 career games against Chicago, Parker has averaged 17.9 PPG (51% FG) and 6.3 APG, including 20 points and six assists in the Jan. 29 loss.
Despite being nearly 38 years old, PF Tim Duncan (15.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 BPG) continues to be effective with a double-double in three of his past five games. His 17 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to the Bulls earlier this year are right in line with his career numbers of 19.6 PPG and 12.1 RPG in 29 games against them. SG Manu Ginobili (12.3 PPG, 4.5 APG, 3.1 RPG) is one of the best reserves in the league, but did not play in the first game against the Bulls. He has scored 15.8 PPG (41% FG) to go along with 5.2 RPG and 4.2 APG over 16 career games (10 starts) against them.
Former Chicago SG Marco Belinelli (11.4 PPG) and PG Patty Mills (9.9 PPG) both scored in double-figures in the loss to the Bulls two months ago, combining for 23 points on 9-of-22 FG. Chicago has lost its top two offensive weapons this year and is scoring an NBA-worst 93.1 PPG on a paltry 43.1% FG (3rd-worst in league) this season. The lack of offense has not stopped the club from succeeding this season though, as opponents have scored an NBA-low 92.2 PPG on 43.2% FG (2nd-lowest in league). The Bulls have averaged a strong 97.0 PPG on 45.8% FG over their past eight games, while their defense has given up 100+ points just once over the past 14 contests (89.4 PPG allowed). C Joakim Noah (12.1 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 4.8 APG, 1.5 BPG, 1.1 SPG) is the best passing center in the league and has two triple-doubles over his past five games. His near triple-double (10 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists) helped the Bulls defeat the Spurs earlier this season, but Noah has averaged just 6.5 PPG (44% FG) and 8.5 RPG against them over 11 career games (10 starts).
PG D.J. Augustin (11.8 PPG, 4.4 APG) was a great addition to the team in December and has scored 22+ points in three of five March contests, averaging 20.2 PPG on 52% FG (46% threes) and 27-of-28 FT so far this month. He has netted only 6.0 PPG (28% FG) with 4.7 APG in nine career games (4 starts) against the Spurs, but did score 15 points while dishing out five assists with just one turnover in the lone meeting this season. PF Carlos Boozer (14.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG) has been struggling over the past four contests, averaging just 9.3 PPG (37% FG) and 7.5 RPG. He was strong against San Antonio this year though (16 points, 12 rebounds), and will need to get back to form in order for Chicago make this a competitive game.
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