After ending their longest losing stretch of the season, the San Antonio Spurs are hoping to make a run in a positive direction.
The Spurs look to win consecutive games for the first time in two weeks as they host the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
San Antonio (45-23) won 102-80 at Chicago on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak and win for just the second time in eight contests since winning a season-high 11 in a row from Feb. 11-March 6.
“It was just a bad stretch for us and this is a step in the right direction,” said San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds against the Bulls. “It’s all about getting a rhythm going right now.”
Though it came against a Chicago team 14 games under .500 and struggling to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff race, any victory is welcomed by the Spurs, who topped the 100-point mark for the first time in five games.
San Antonio, which averages 95.5 points, was scoring only 85.5 per game during its four-game skid, which featured losses against four of the NBA’s better teams in New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston.
Though the Spurs are sixth in the competitive Western Conference, they are two games back of the top spot held by the Los Angeles Lakers and 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Hornets in the Southwest Division. San Antonio, however, is just 2 1/2 games ahead of the Golden State Warriors, who hold the eighth and final playoff spot.
“The first seed could be the eighth and the eighth seed is as good as the first and that’s no exaggeration,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “None of us is better than the other. So the seeds are really irrelevant this season more than any other time.”
Tony Parker had 23 points and six assists Thursday as the Spurs outscored Chicago 33-14 in the second quarter to break open the game. Parker is averaging 18.7 points overall and 22.0 in his last seven contests.
Duncan, meanwhile, bounced back Thursday after combining for 26 points and 14 rebounds in his two previous games.
Duncan and Parker, though, were held to a combined 27 points in the Spurs’ 112-99 loss at Sacramento on Nov. 26 as the Kings evened the season series at one game apiece.
San Antonio, which had its seven-game home winning streak snapped in a 93-91 loss to the Celtics on Monday, will try for a fourth consecutive victory over the Kings at the AT&T Center.
Sacramento (31-36) looks for its third straight victory after winning 122-105 at home over Golden State on Tuesday. Kevin Martin had 34 points om 13-for-22 shooting while Ron Artest added 26 for the Kings, who shot a season-high 58.0 percent.
“The bottom line is we came out, played harder than them in the first and second halves,” Kings coach Reggie Theus told the team’s official Web site.
Martin, the team leader at 23.0 points per contest, is coming off his second straight 30-point game after scoring 32 in a 106-100 win over Toronto on Sunday. He is averaging just 16.0 points on 37.9 percent shooting in two games versus San Antonio in 2007-08.