SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jimmy Butler had 19 points and Carlos Boozer added 16 points and 12 rebounds and the Chicago Bulls handed the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs their third straight loss, 96-86 on Wednesday night.
D.J. Augustin and Taj Gibson added 15 points each and Joakim Noah had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Chicago.
Tony Parker had 20 points and Tim Duncan had 17 points and 12 rebounds for San Antonio, which hadn’t lost back-to-back games until this current skid.
The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Tiago Splitter.
It led to a disjointed and inconsistent offense for San Antonio.
With four players missing from their main rotation, the Spurs started Nando De Colo and newly signed Othyus Jeffers, who have both played in the D League.
Jeffers brought hustle and De Colo another distributor, but neither brought much offense.
San Antonio went scoreless for nearly five minutes as part of Chicago’s 12-5 run to close the first quarter. It could have been worse, but Patty Mills made a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds remaining to keep the Spurs within 21-15.
San Antonio responded with a 17-3 run to take a 27-24 lead. Chicago scored just seven points in 10 minutes bridging the first and second quarters, turning a 21-12 lead into a 36-28 deficit.
But the second half belonged to the Bulls and Butler.
Butler was 7 for 11 from the field as the Spurs had no answer for the athletic forward.
NOTES: Green, Leonard and Splitter all sat behind the bench during the game, all wearing sport coats with no ties. Ginobili was not with the team. … Noah (illness) and Kirk Hinrich (right hamstring) both played after being game-time decisions due to injury. … Jeffers endeared himself to the fans and Spurs quickly, diving onto court twice on the same possession for a loose ball, earning a jump ball. … Noah was given a technical foul with 5:02 remaining in the third by official Josh Tiven. As he ran back defensively, Noah punched the air in disgust after missing a layup he thought was caused by a foul on Duncan. … When asked how the Spurs will handle the rash of recent injuries, coach Gregg Popovich said he didn’t want to be a smart-(aleck) but … “You play the guys on the bench. We can’t play the guys on the other team. I know that.”
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