Spurs vs. Bulls: The Tony Parker shows rolls into Chicago


The San Antonio Spurs have one hiccup on their rodeo trip so far, but Tony Parker appears to be quite unstoppable.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are doubtful to play against the Chicago Bulls on Monday, but that should have little bearing on what the San Antonio Spurs will bring to the table.

Tony Parker has led the Spurs to wins in 13 of the last 14 games. A slip-up on Friday against the Detroit Pistons included, Parker has been hard to stop and ultra-aggressive as his two teammates have sat. In three games to start the nine-game rodeo trip away from San Antonio, Parker has failed to score less than 29 points, shoot less than 47 percent from the field and record less than eight assists.

Duncan has played in only two games since Jan. 18 and has been dealing with a problematic left knee. Ginobili has missed eight of his last 12 because of a hamstring injury.

The Bulls are a two-point favorite with the United Center crowd behind their backs but are dealing with their own set of injuries. Center Joakim Noah (plantar fasciitis) and shooting guard Marco Belinelli (sore ankle) are game-time decisions against the Spurs, according to the Chicago-Tribune, and point guard Kirk Hinrich is out while recovering from an elbow operation.

It doesn't help much that, for whatever reason, the Bulls struggle against Western Conference competition and have gone 1-8 against Western Conference playoff teams, writes BlogABull.com.

Keys to the game

Through three games on the rodeo road trip, the Spurs have gotten out to sluggish starts in the first quarters. Against Minnesota and Brooklyn, it turned out not to matter. Against Detroit, it did San Antonio in. The Spurs, who are No. 6 in pace according to Basketball-Reference.com, would be in solid position if they push the tempo against a Chicago team that would rather set up its impeccable pick-and-roll defense.

That defense might be enough to stop -- or at least limit -- Parker. And rebounding will not only play a heavy role in the transition game, but the Bulls could have the advantage in second-chance points by game's end. The Spurs gave up 12 offensive boards to the Brooklyn Nets in a 111-86 San Antonio victory on Sunday, and the Bulls' large front line could pose problems for them.

Last time out

San Antonio recovered from a 119-109 loss to Detroit on Friday with a dominating road win against the Nets on Sunday. Chicago, which has gone 2-3 over its last five games, used its tough front line to edge the Utah Jazz 93-89 on Friday.

Time: 8 p.m. ET


Odds: Chicago opened as a two-point favorite.

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