CHICAGO (AP) — Manu Ginobili scored 22 points and Tony Parker had 20 as the league-leading San Antonio Spurs beat the Chicago Bulls 104-96 on Tuesday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 16 for San Antonio, which won its seventh straight and 10th in its last 11. The Spurs (47-16) maintained their hold on the NBA’s best record, staying ahead of Oklahoma City and Indiana, who both started play Tuesday a half-game behind the Spurs.
San Antonio jumped out to a big lead early, taking a 61-33 advantage into halftime, including 18 from Parker. That helped them improve to 24-6 on the road, the NBA’s best mark away from home.
Chicago trailed 90-66 entering the fourth, but pulled to within eight late against San Antonio’s reserves.
Parker, who had scored at least 22 in two of the Spurs’ last four games, went 8 for 15 from the field for a team that made 51 percent overall against one of the NBA’s best defensive clubs. Ginobili was 9 of 11.
Also, the league’s top 3-point shooting team at 39.2 percent, San Antonio made 12 of 21 from behind the arc, including four from Ginobili.
Tuesday continued the Spurs’ surge since losing to the Bulls 96-86 on Jan. 29. Since then, the Spurs are 14-3 and can improve to 15-3 with a win Wednesday at home against Portland.
The Bulls, meanwhile, were coming off a dramatic 95-88 win Sunday over the Heat, but couldn’t build off that victory, falling to 1-2 on a season-high six-game homestand.
D.J. Augustin led the Bulls with 24 points and Jimmy Butler had 23. Joakim Noah, whose name has started to be mentioned in MVP discussions, had 13 points and eight rebounds.
That all was a far cry from Sunday, when the Bulls held Miami to 40.5 percent shooting and overcame a 42.2 percent shooting game of their own. That didn’t happen Tuesday for the Bulls, who were 43 percent from the field.
The Spurs scored the first seven points until Kirk Hinrich’s 3-pointer with 8:50 left in the opening quarter. Parker made six of his first eight shots and San Antonio stretched its lead to 17 with 4:36 left on Tim Duncan’s putback, capping a 12-0 run. Ginobili’s reverse layup with a second left gave San Antonio a 38-14 lead after the first.
Parker ended the quarter with 16 points for the Spurs, who shot 71.4 percent from the floor during the opening period. That carried into the second quarter as San Antonio took a 32-point lead with 6:35 left on Patty Mills’ jumper, and ended the half leading by 28 and hitting 61 percent from the field.
To add to the Bulls’ woes, Taj Gibson missed what would have been an emphatic one-handed dunk with 3:45 left, slamming the ball off the back rim and out of bounds.
San Antonio made seven of 10 3-pointers, while Chicago shot 33.3 percent overall over the first 24 minutes.
NOTES: Spurs guard and former Bull Marco Belinelli scored 10 points and got a warm reception when he checked in for the first time with 10.1 seconds left in the first quarter. … Spurs coach Gregg Popovich noted Belinelli’s contributions and jokingly said he’s “a great source for Italian restaurants around the league.” … Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is not surprised fatigue hasn’t hit his team yet, despite its lack of depth. “Whatever it is that you’re facing, you’ve got to be ready to accept that challenge and be ready to play,” he said. … Because of the injuries the Spurs have suffered this season, Popovich was asked if this season has been his best coaching job. “Haven’t they all been brilliant?” he said. “I got no clue. My 2-22 season in Pomona was my best.” … Popovich said Noah’s personality is “the opposite” of Duncan in terms of showing emotion, but praised the Bulls center’s emotional fire.
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