Bulls players and Coach Thibobeau met for an airing out session. Each player got a turn to speak. The results of that meeting were good. The Bulls played with energy and spirit and locked down the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs to 37% FG shooting. The Bulls held the combined big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker to just 17 points total points and routed San Antonio 104-81.
Derrick Rose, made some strong statements after the Bulls got thrashed by the Cavs, where the Bulls looked flat and not able to compete. Rose came out fired up and scored 22 points on 9 of 16 shooting. His shooting slump, perhaps, a thing of the past. In all, 5 other Bulls scored in double-figures. Pau Gasol was just named as a starting F on the All-Star game. He played like one too, scoring 12 and grabbing 17 rebounds. Jimmy Butler had 17 efficient points. Taj Gibson scored 15 points and had 9 boards. Chicago out rebounded San Antonio 46-39.
Spurs Coach Paul Popovich said, “I want my money back.” The Spurs had won four games in a row, but ran into a determined Bulls team, with something to say. “It shows what we’re capable of doing,” said Gasol.
What was impressive about this win, was the Bulls holding the Spurs to under 100 points, heck, under 90 points. Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs scoring with 16 points, all in the first half. Chicago had a good third quarter outscoring the Spurs 31-20, and the game was essentially over. Rose hardly played in the fourth quarter.
Both Joakim Noah and Mike Dunleavy were out due to ankle issues. Noah missed his 4th game, and Dunleavy, his 11th. Both are practicing and Dunleavy is expected to return “very soon.”