Bulls at Spurs Game Preview; Butler's knee is fine

Bulls at Spurs Game Preview; Butler's knee is fine

The Bulls take their two-game winning streak into San Antonio tonight (7PM CT, TNT), and they will do it without Jimmy Butler.

Butler is in Florida, visiting world-renowned orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews to get a second opinion on his sore left knee. (EDIT: Jimmy's knee is fine, according to Dr. Andrews, which is obviously great news for Bulls fans.)

That means E'Twaun Moore will start at SG, and unfortunately it probably means Aaron Brooks will have to play back-up PG for the night. The only other option would be dividing the 96 guard minutes evenly among Rose, Moore and Holiday, and/or giving Dunleavy and/or McDermott minutes at SG (which might be possible with Mirotic back, as he can play some SF).

Chicago lost last season’s game in San Antonio, but the Bulls haven’t dropped consecutive road games to the Spurs since losing three in a row from the 2006-07 to 2008-09 seasons. Chicago won the first matchup between these two teams in the Windy City, 92-89. Despite being down 23-17 after the first frame, the Bulls entered halftime up by a points, 49-48. Six of the 14 lead changes occurred in the second half, but Chicago held on. Pau Gasol led in points (18) and rebounds (13) for a double-double, while Joakim Noah led in assists off the bench (7) to go along with 11 rebounds and eight points. Kawhi Leonard had a game-high 25 points for the Spurs, and Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge each grabbed 12 rebounds for San Antonio.

BULLS NOTES:

On March 7 against Milwaukee, the Bulls logged a season-high 35 assists on 39 field goals. It was the highest assist-to-field goals made percentage in the league this season (89.7%). Over their last five wins, the Bulls are averaging 30.2 assists per game.

Pau Gasol notched his second triple-double of the season and the ninth regular-season triple-double of his career against the Bucks (12 points, 17 rebounds, 13 assists and five blocks). He joins eight other Bulls who have registered multiple triple-doubles in a single season (Jordan, Pippen, Noah, Oak, Rodgers, Boerwinkle, Thurmond and Mickey Johnson).

Derrick Rose shot 50 percent (9-of-18) from the floor against Milwaukee. Rose has shot .500 or better in each of his last seven games, the longest such streak of his career. In this stretch, he is shooting .551 from the field.

Over the last two games, Chicago’s starters have accounted for 165 of the Bulls’ 208 points. On Monday against Milwaukee, the Bulls snapped a 16-game streak of allowing opponents to score 100 or more points. The Bulls held a 17-5 edge in second-chance points despite being outrebounded 18-6 on the offensive glass. The Bulls blocked a season-best 11 shots against the Bucks, led by Pau Gasol’s five swats and three from Taj Gibson.

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. The same year (1980), as a student assistant at Seeger Memorial High School in West Lebanon, IN, he was one of the first in the world to use, study and implement analytics in basketball. He attended Daytona State College and Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround: The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters), where he was fortunate enough to work with many rising stars, including NFL Network's Dan Hellie, Redskins coach Jay Gruden, Magic radio and TV personality Dante Marchitelli, and WSB-TV (Atlanta) Sports Director Zach Klein. In addition to running the Bullsville blog and officiating basketball, baseball and football for the KHSAA, he is also a bass player and vocalist who writes and produces music in his spare time (you may remember his internet hit "I Hate Eddy Curry"). He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. He's seen Primus 9 times and thinks Les Claypool walks on water. By far his greatest accomplishment is being a father of three and grandfather of one.

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