Both the San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls continued their winning ways with victories over the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat last week. However, no one expected a blowout when the Spurs and Bulls met for the second and final time in the regular season, on Tuesday.
Manu Ginobili scored 22 points as he led the league leading Spurs past the Bulls 104-96 inside the United Center. Tony Parker added 20 points and Kawhi Leonard added 16 for San Antonio, who won their seventh straight game and held on to the NBA's best record.
D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 24 points and Jimmy Butler added 23. After the game, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau took the blame for his team coming out flat and not ready to play.
"Readiness to play, that’s the biggest thing," Thibodeau said. "Like I told them, that’s completely on me. …We had no edge to us."
San Antonio scored early and often, shooting a sizzling 71.4 percent in the first quarter, as they took a 38-14 lead after 12 minutes, and took a 61-33 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
Chicago was held to 33.3 percent shooting at halftime thanks to the Spurs' defensive pressure and Chicago's poor offensive selections.
The Spurs are shooting 39.5 percent from beyond the arc this season and Tuesday was more of the same. San Antonio made 12 of 21 baskets from 3point range, including four from Ginobili.
The victory helped San Antonio continue their hot streak on the road and improve to 24-8 away from the AT&T Center, the best in the league.
The Spurs are now 47-16 on the season and will return home to welcome the Portland Trail Blazers to the friendly confines of the AT&T Center at 8:30 p.m.