Two All-Star point guards took the floor on Wednesday evening, one representing the Western conference San Antonio Spurs, and the other representing the Eastern conference Chicago Bulls.
The hype was built around this point guard duel as Derrick Rose of the Bulls, the reigning MVP, was going head-to-head with Tony Parker of the Spurs, a point guard whose name has been in MVP discussions this season.
Who was the most elite guard on the floor Wednesday? The reigning MVP, as Rose lead the Chicago Bulls to a 96-89 victory in San Antonio, which is a place the Spurs rarely lose (13-2) at.
Rose had 29 points to the lead the Bulls, but more credit goes to the Bulls’ relentless defense which put their clamps on the Spurs’ efficient offense when it mattered most, the fourth quarter.
Parker (11 points, 9 assists) and Rose got the AT&T Center fired up as Parker scored eight points in the opening quarter, and Rose scored 11 points. The Spurs and Bulls both showed their defensive identity’s as the Spurs lead 22-20 after the first.
Danny Green (11 points) and C.J. Watson (12 points) took the spotlight from Parker and Rose as they began to knock down shots from the outside as Green scored six points in the second quarter, and Watson scored 10. Rose added five more points to his total as the Bulls’ defense held the Spurs 20 points, while Chicago’s offense put 30 points on the scoreboard. The Bulls lead 50-42 going into halftime.
It was the Spurs’ defense’s time to shine in the third quarter as the Spurs held the Bulls to 6-of-23 shooting, and just 15 points in the quarter. The Spurs first went on a 7-0 run to cut the Bulls’ eight-point lead down to four points, then that run eventually turned into a 15-4 run where the Spurs tied the Bulls and eventually took the lead. Tim Duncan (18 points, 10 rebounds) and DeJuan Blair (9 points) were the reasons for the Spurs’ resurgence in the third quarter as Duncan had 12 points alone in the third quarter. The Spurs took a narrow 66-65 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Bulls are built a lot like the Spurs in that they have multiple players either starting or off their bench who can lead a charge. Ronnie Brewer was an example of that as he scored all eight of his game points in the fourth quarter. Gary Neal (21 points) was the only aggressive option on the Spurs’ offense as Neal kept the Spurs close with 14 points in the fourth quarter. But ultimately, the Bulls’ tenacious defense kept most of San Antonio’s effective role players in check. Rose’s six points and Luol Deng’s (10 points) two big three pointers in the fourth quarter were too much for the Spurs to overcome. The Bulls’ defense held the Spurs to 23 points in the final period, while the offense was able to create a 31-point fourth quarter and help the Bulls earn the victory.
With the loss, the Spurs are now 24-11 on the season. They’ll face the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday in a game they hope Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili will return in.
In his return to action from injury, Spurs guard T.J. Ford played eight minutes, had two assists, and lead the team with three steals.