Enhanced Box Score: Bulls 128, Spurs 104 – February 6, 2023
The Chicago Bulls were still hot from Saturday’s victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.
Thanks to a 15-24 performance from the field in the first quarter, the Bulls started the night with a 39-28 advantage. Zach LaVine looked to be completely in his element, scoring from all three levels of the floor during his first rotational stint. The Bulls bench also made an incredibly positive impact from the jump. Andre Drummond found himself with 4 points and 6 rebounds in his first five minutes, while the second unit combined for 9 quick points in the first frame.
If the Bulls have learned anything about the San Antonio Spurs, however, it’s that they will never go away. While this group may have walked into the night with losses in 13 of their previous 14 games, Greg Popovich will never settle for lackluster effort. The Spurs were trying their best to punch back, and the Bulls’ Alex Caruso-less defense let them land several of those hits.
A 12-point advantage became just 3 points heading into the locker room. The Spurs shot 50.0 percent from the field in the first half and scored 38 of their 59 points in the paint. Missed rotations caused a bulk of problems for the Bulls, and a 62-59 lead surely didn’t feel comfortable enough for the Bulls to avoid letting history repeat itself.
Indeed, once the 3rd quarter got underway, it felt like we were in store for another ugly Bulls loss to a tanking team. Keldon Johnson and his teammates were able to take advantage of several careless Bulls turnovers, eventually taking an 83-79. Fortunately, DeMar DeRozan rattled off seven-straight points to end the quarter and help the Bulls regain a 90-85 lead heading into the final frame.
I don’t know if it was a sign of legitimate growth or just an expert tank job by San Antonio, but the 4th quarter then couldn’t have gone better for the Bulls. They quickly put together a 23-5 run to put the game away with ease. Much like we saw against the Trail Blazers, it was unselfish play and strong contributions from the role players that helped the Bulls finish strong. Drummond, in particular, looked dominant as he scored six-straight points on three-straight dunks.
Drummond ended up finishing the night with 21 points and 15 rebounds in just 21 minutes off the bench. According to Bulls PR (h/t Will Gottlieb), he was the first reserve to that stat line since Taj Gibson in 2013-14. Hurry Bulls, call contenders and trade him for a haul ASAP!
The Bulls will now have to play in Memphis less than 24 hours from now. If they can pick up the win, they will be .500 for the first time since November.
Check out the full box score here.