Bulls 106, Spurs 99

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SAN ANTONIO (AP)—The San Antonio Spurs often go through offensive droughts, and when that happens, they count on their defense to save them.

But with Friday night’s game against Chicago on the line, the Spurs folded at both ends of the floor and lost 106-99 to the quicker Bulls.

Chris Duhon scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for Chicago, and the Bulls shut down San Antonio in the final minutes to end a nine-game losing streak against the Spurs.

Duhon made four 3-pointers, but said his priority was defending San Antonio point guard Tony Parker, who had 22 points and nine assists in the Spurs’ 104-95 overtime win in Chicago earlier this month.

“He was getting in way too deep on us to where he had a lot of options— either he could score or … he could kick it out to their shooters,” Duhon recalled from the Nov. 7 loss. “Tonight we just tried to pick him up early, collapse (into the paint) and make him get rid of the ball quicker.”

Parker finished with 13 points and six assists.

The Spurs’ Tim Duncan tied the game at 85 on a hook shot with 8:13 remaining, but after that San Antonio made only four more baskets on 13 shots.

Chicago, meanwhile, went 9-for-14 down the stretch to beat the Spurs for the first time since December 2000.

“I’m not concerned about the offense—it’s the defense,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “(The Bulls) executed very well. They were aggressive going to the boards and aggressive on defense.”

Duhon started the final charge with a 17-footer and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to make it 90-85, and he capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with 9.5 seconds left.

The Bulls had lost nine straight to the Spurs and had not won in San Antonio since 1998.

Ben Gordon led Chicago with 19 points and Luol Deng added 17. Andres Nocioni had 13 points and Tyson Chandler, who defended Duncan effectively late in the game, had 12 rebounds.

Gordon said the game’s outcome will serve to motivate the Bulls, who evened their record at 5-5.

“It lets you know that when you go out there and play hard and play the way you’re supposed to, you can beat a Spurs or a Pistons or teams like that,” he said.

Duncan finished with 24 points, 12 in the fourth, and 11 rebounds. Manu Ginobili added 16 points and Nick Van Exel had a season-high 15, all but two coming in the second period. Michael Finley scored 12 points for the Spurs, who lost at home for the first time this season.

Chicago got good results using a quick three-guard lineup after big men Chandler, Othella Harrington and Michael Sweetney got into foul trouble.

“Phoenix did that against us last week, so it isn’t an excuse for us,” Ginobili said. “We are getting used to that style of play.”

A 3-pointer by Ginobili in the opening minutes gave San Antonio a 12-5 lead, but the Spurs missed 10 of their next 11 attempts.

Chicago tied it at 15 late in the first when Gordon found Harrington for a dunk, then Gordon made a 17-footer to give the Bulls their first lead.

The Bulls’ advantage grew to 27-19 on a short jumper by Chandler, but Van Exel hit three straight 3-pointers and Finley made a jumper to cut Chicago’s lead to 34-32 with about five minutes left in the second period.

A layup by Darius Songaila restored the Bulls’ lead to seven points in the final minute of the half, but Duncan made a pair of free throws and Finley connected on a corner 3-pointer to make it 45-43 at the break. Van Exel scored 13 points in the second on 5-for-7 shooting.


The teams combined for 46 3-point attempts, 28 of them by the Spurs, and they made 19. … The teams together had 46 assists, 25 of them by Chicago. … The Spurs’ home court is still the SBC Center, even though SBC this week changed its name to AT&T Inc. The building’s name will eventually change, with AT&T Center and AT&T Arena among the possibilities.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
C. Duhon C. Duhon
6-11,  18 Pts
5 Rebs, 7 Assists
 San Antonio
T. Duncan T. Duncan
8-14,  24 Pts
11 Rebs, 4 Assists

Team Stat Leaders