For the first time this season the San Antonio Spurs have lost three straight games, and in fitting fashion, it came as the first loss endured in a back-to-back situation.
Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 12 rebounds; while Joakim Noah nearly had a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the visiting Chicago Bulls (23-22) as they beat the Spurs (33-13) 96-86 at the AT&T Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 20 points and six assists, but for just the third time this season the Spurs were held to under 90 points.
Already missing three of their regular starters, the Spurs played without Manu Ginobili after he injured his hamstring the previous night in a loss to the Houston Rockets.
“(Chicago) played good defense. They got a lot of boards. We made a lot of mistakes, but we’re not going to make excuses,” Parker said. “Everybody gets injuries, and we just have to figure it out.”
Tim Duncan managed to pass another NBA milestone in the loss, as his 17 points and 12 rebounds pushed him past Bill Russell all-time with 786 double-doubles for his career.
As proof of the impact the injury woes have brought upon the Spurs, Head Coach Gregg Popovich started the newly signed journeyman Otheyus Jeffers and the minimally used Nando De Colo on the second night of a back-to-back.
The Spurs had a hard time keeping the Bulls off of the boards being outrebounded 39-31. The Bulls also gathered 14 offensive rebounds that translated into 19 second chance points and scored 52 points in the paint, outscoring the Spurs by 26 points.
The Spurs were further hurt by their 19 turnovers along with a first quarter that garnered only 15 points on 38 percent shooting.
“It’s tough to keep a rhythm,” Duncan said. “With a lot of our guys out, our consistency just isn’t there on both ends. We can’t sustain for the periods of time that we need to. But at various points throughout the game we’re where we want to be,” continued Duncan. “And then we go through lulls where defense or offense can’t get it done.”
The Sacramento Kings (15-30) fixture on Saturday, Feb. 1st will be the last home game the Spurs have in over a month. With the traditional rodeo show coming through San Antonio, the Spurs will head out on their nine-game road trip. Famously known as the Rodeo Road Trip, the Spurs will have high hopes of finding their winning ways again.