Indianapolis Star
National Basketball Association
Preview
Chicago at San Antonio
When: 8:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 15, 2018
Where: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas

The San Antonio Spurs are playing like the great teams of their recent past during a six-game homestand and are coming off one of their most impressive wins after blowing past the Los Angeles Clippers 125-87 on Thursday. The Spurs will try to make it five straight victories when they host the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.

San Antonio held each of its last two opponents under 90 points and limited the Clippers to 30 points in the second half on Thursday. "I thought that we played a really good defensive game, and that fuels your offense in most situations," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. "I like to think we're getting better, more consistent defensively, and I think that showed tonight." The Bulls averaged 85.7 points in their last three games - all losses - and fell short in the final minutes of a 97-91 loss to the Orlando Magic in Mexico City on Thursday. "As a group, we have to make one or two big plays at the end, whether it's a rebound or finishing a play at the rim, playing through contract, whatever it is," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylen told reporters. "We're going to keep working at that."

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, WGN (Chicago), KENS (San Antonio)

ABOUT THE BULLS (6-23): One reason for Chicago's offensive struggles of late is power forward Lauri Markkanen's shooting slump, and he went 2-of-10 from the floor on Thursday to fall to 10-of-36 over the last three contests. "I was just missing them," Markkanen told reporters. "I had a couple of good looks, but then a couple at the end of the shot clock I had to force. I am still trying to get adjusted to playing the game and I just need to get my legs back under me. I'm confident on every shot even though I have been missing lately, so I am still confident I am going to make every shot." The Bulls offense is not likely to include forward Jabari Parker, who logged four minutes on Thursday and has fallen out of Boylen's rotation.

ABOUT THE SPURS (15-14): San Antonio sat three games under .500 after dropping a 121-113 decision at the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 7 but is turning things around at home and climbed back above .500 with Thursday's triumph. "We knew coming into this with the adversity we were facing before this home stretch, we had to come in and take advantage of this opportunity," Shooting guard DeMar DeRozan told reporters. "We had a lot of mistakes early on (in the season). So, we're just getting to this point of trying to put everything together and keep it rolling. (We're) trying to go out there and win every quarter by trying to limit them to 25 or less points. We just have to take pride in holding teams under a certain amount of points." DeRozan is increasing his role as a playmaker and averaged 8.3 assists over the last four games.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bulls SF Chandler Hutchinson (illness) sat out Thursday and is day-to-day.

2. Spurs SF Rudy Gay is averaging 19.6 points on 61.3 percent shooting over the last five games.

3. San Antonio took the last four in the series, including a 108-107 win at Chicago on Nov. 26.

PREDICTION: Spurs 106, Bulls 88
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Chicago 6-23 L3 4-11 2-11 0-0 6-23 1-6 4-13
San Antonio 15-14 W4 11-4 4-10 0-0 15-14 3-3 13-10
Last Meeting
Chicago San Antonio
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
11/26/18 SA 108 CHI 107 107 43 46.7 108 46 48.4
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Chicago Z. LaVine 28 38.5 5
San Antonio D. DeRozan 21 50.0 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Chicago J. Parker 10 2 8
San Antonio L. Aldridge 8 3 5
Assists Player  
Chicago Z. LaVine 7
San Antonio B. Forbes 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Chicago Z. LaVine 754 45.7 166
San Antonio D. DeRozan 758 47.5 186
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Chicago J. Parker 235 39 196
San Antonio L. Aldridge 305 97 208
Assists Player  
Chicago Z. LaVine 141
San Antonio D. DeRozan 199
Quickchart Matchup
Chicago Chicago Off vs  San Antonio San Antonio Defense
Chicago Off vs San Antonio - Points For 101.4 Points For
Chicago Off vs San Antonio - Points Against 111.5 Points Against
Chicago - FG% 44.2 FG%
San Antonio - FG% 47.6 FG%
Chicago - Reb 41.3 Reb
San Antonio - Reb 44.1 Reb
San Antonio San Antonio Off vs  Chicago Chicago Defense
San Antonio Off vs Chicago - Points For 110.8 Points For
San Antonio Off vs Chicago - Points Against 112.3 Points Against
San Antonio - FG% 46.7 FG%
Chicago - FG% 46.0 FG%
San Antonio - Reb 44.4 Reb
Chicago - Reb 49.0 Reb