CHICAGO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs beat Chicago, 87-77, on Saturday night in the Bulls’ home opener.
Aldridge scored 12 points in a 22-13 run that gave San Antonio a 63-51 third-quarter lead. He signed a three-year contract extension a day before the season began.
Rudy Gay added 12 points for the Spurs, playing without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy).
Robin Lopez had 16 points and seven rebounds for the Bills, also short-handed without power forwards Niko Mirotic (facial fractures, concussion) and Bobby Portis (suspension). Rookie Lauri Marakkanen, thrust into the starting lineup because of an incident in practice Tuesday that ultimately sidelined both Mirotic and Portis, had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Spurs: Rookie guard Brandon Paul, who grew up in nearby Gurnee, did not play. The 26-year-old Paul, a former University of Illinois standout was Mr. Basketball of Illinois as a senior at Warren Township High School in 2009.
Bulls: Lopez made the first 3-pointer of his career in the third quarter. … Justin Holliday scored 15 points, but shot 5 of 18 from the field. … Denzel Valentine played after missing Friday’s practice with knee soreness. He scored four points in 26 minutes.
Suspended Bulls forward Portis offered an apology to injured teammate Mirotic prior to the game in his first public comments since punching Mirotic in practice Tuesday and sidelining him for 4-6 weeks with two fractured bones in his face and a concussion.
“I want to publicly apologize to Niko,” Portis said. “I feel like I let my fans, the Bulls organization and most importantly my teammates down. This is not who Bobby Portis is.”
Portis was suspended eight games. He said he has reached out to Mirotic but has not received a response.
Spurs: Host Toronto on Monday night.
Bulls: At Cleveland on Tuesday night.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.