The San Antonio Spurs hung with the Chicago Bulls through three quarters on Monday night but fell apart late as they dropped the opener of the 2023 Rodeo Road Trip, 128-104. Chicago (26-27) had a healthy roster but struggled to separate from the depleted Spurs (14-40), nursing a three-point lead at the half and carrying just a five-point lead into the final frame. San Antonio could hardly buy a bucket down the stretch, however, and was outscored by 20 to end the game.
Keldon Johnson had a strong night with 21 points on 8-12 shooting to lead the Spurs. Nikola Vuvcevic lead all scorers with 22 points, but the real star of the night was Andre Drummond. The former lottery pick had 21 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Drummond’s contributions came up clutch as he recorded 15 points and eight rebounds in the fourth quarter alone, helping seal the win for Chicago.
San Antonio Spurs Couldn’t Run With Bulls
San Antonio really had its moments on Monday when it looked like they might steal a win in Chicago. With just five minutes left in the first quarter, the teams were knotted up at 19 points each. It was just a moment later that the hero of the night for the Bulls, Drummond, entered the contest and sparked a 20-9 run as the Spurs trailed 39-28 through the first 12 minutes. Keldon Johnson got busy for San Antonio before the half, however, and was an efficient 4 of 7 for nine points, leading all scorers at the break with 17 points.
Both teams matched each other well through most of the third quarter, as the Spurs even took the lead at the 4:30 mark, 77-76. Former Spur DeMar DeRozan wasn’t having it though and took over in the final two minutes of the quarter with seven consecutive points to claim a five-point lead 90-85. Drummond took the torch from him as San Antonio was absent in the paint but couldn’t stop fouling, sending the Bulls to the charity stripe 11 times where Chicago hit 9 of 11. At one point in the fourth quarter, the Bulls had outscored the Spurs 30-8.
If there’s anything the San Antonio can hang their hat on, it’s that they were not only taking on a group of former All-Stars but that they did so shorthanded. Tre Jones was sidelined with a foot injury, while Romeo Langford and Jeremy Sochan were also listed out. The Spurs also continue to miss the two-way play of Devin Vassell who is still out after having a knee procedure last month.
UP NEXT FOR THE SAN ANTONIO SPURS
The nine-game Rodeo Road Trip continues for the Spurs on Wednesday night as the team travels to face the Toronto Raptors. In the midst of a difficult season, Toronto (25-30) has won consecutive games as of Monday night and is still very much alive in the playoff race. Pascal Siakam is the unquestioned leader of the Raptors, averaging 24.7 points a night along with seven rebounds, and six assists. He led his squad in scoring on Sunday night in their 106-103 win over the Memphis Grizzlies with 19 points. It was a true team victory that night for Toronto, however, as seven players scored in double digits while absolutely dominating the paint.
Jakob Poeltl will have his hands full against his former team on Wednesday as will his counterpart Zach Collins. Along with Johnson, they will have to stay out of foul trouble while attacking the rim. Where San Antonio could really steal the game is from beyond the arc. Toronto ranks 28th in three-point shooting on the season, not far behind the Spurs. With talents like Doug McDermott, Johnson, and Josh Richardson, San Antonio has the ability to get hot from deep.
Full box score at NBA.com.