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Bulls Falls to the Spurs, Pistons Seek Win Against the Raptors

After showing grit and determination on Sunday, the Chicago Bulls (35-9) fell short to the San Antonio Spurs (47-16) on Tuesday with a 104-96 loss.

In a battle of one of the league’s best offense versus its top defense, offense won. The Spurs had a 112. 3 point offensive rating and a 60.7 shooting percentage as well as jumped out of the starting gate quickly, grabbing a 38-14 lead after the first quarter and then extending it to a 61-33 halftime advantage against the Bulls.

Tony Parker was a large contributor at the start (18 points by halftime) with his 20 points (8-of-15 shooting) for the night along with nine assists and zero turnovers. However, Manu Ginobili led the team with scoring as he came off the bench with his 22 points (9-of-11 shooting) and Kawhi Leonard added 16 points with nine rebounds.

The Spurs have now won seven straight games and sit atop the league for the best record. They have a half-game advantage over the Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17) and the Indiana Pacers (47-17), who also both won on Tuesday.

San Antonio is 7/1 to win the 2014 NBA Championship.

Joakim Noah

Joakim Noah

As for the Bulls, they entered the game with a lot of confidence after their Miami Heat win but they couldn’t get it done. D.J. Augustin led the team in scoring with his 24 points, followed by Jimmy Butler’s 23 points. Joakim Noah added 13 with eight rebounds.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took the blame for the team’s slow start and said via the Associated Press, “I told them, that’s completely on me. My job is to have them ready. We had no edge to us. That’s a championship-caliber team that’s playing on all cylinders and they’re going after it, so if you don’t match that intensity to start, you are going to get in a big hole. So I didn’t prepare them the way they needed to be prepared for that, so that’s on me.”

For the Bulls, they have gone 23-10 since January 1, which represents the Eastern Conference’s second best record as the Brooklyn Nets (32-30) sit ahead of them at 21-9 during this time. Joakim Noah has been a topic of discussion for the MVP award and leads his team in assists (295).

On Thursday, the Bulls will host the Houston Rockets (44-20). Chicago sits at 50/1 to win the 2014 NBA Championship.

Pistons vs. Raptors

The Detroit Pistons (25-39) defeated the Sacramento Kings (22-42), 99-89, on Tuesday and will seek a second straight win at the Toronto Raptors (35-17) on Wednesday.

Good luck going up against Toronto. They play well on their home court as they’ve won their last 14 of 18 there. Against Detroit, they won in their Jan. 8 meeting, 112-91. Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and three of his teammates scored 16 points or more that night including DeMar DeRozan with his 19 points (13 of 16 in free throws).

With another Raptors win, it will be their fourth of five against the Pistons.

Josh Smith

Josh Smith

As for Detroit, that January loss represented their sixth straight one and lately, they really haven’t played that much better as they have won four of their last 14 games, snapping a three-game skid with Tuesday’s win. From that game, Josh Smith led in scoring with 24 points while Rodney Stuckey contributed 23.

Just as the Raptors find success on their home court, the Pistons don’t play well on the road.

They have lost nine consecutive road games after their Jan. 18 win over the Washington Wizards (33-30). This represents their longest road losing streak since Feb. 23-April 5, 2011 when they lost 11 consecutive games. Looking at their remaining schedule, it doesn’t bode well: 12 of 18 games left are away.

But there’s incentive to overcome this as Detroit currently sits in the ninth spot for the Eastern Conference, three games behind No. 8 Atlanta Hawks (27-35).

One game at a time and on Wednesday, the Raptors will get the win (-9.5, 206.5 o/u).



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