POSTED: Dec 19, 2013 7:19 PM ET
UPDATED: Dec 19, 2013 9:57 PM ET
• With Tony Parker recovering from a shin contusion and the Spurs in the midst of a seven-games-in-10-days sprint, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich will hold out veteran stars Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili from tonight's game. "I didn't have to talk them into it," Popovich said. "It's logical. It makes sense. . . . I know my team. I've been doing this for years. We've been saving minutes for Timmy and Manu since the day that they got here and I think it's prolonged their careers. We have to have them for playoffs."
• Popovich said he doesn't plan out rest days in advance of the season, but plays it by feel. In addition to the congested schedule, the fact that this is the third straight opponent ranked in the top-10 for fast-break points played into Popovich's decision. "We've already held them off of back-to-backs here and there," Popovich said. "Seven in 10 days? For them, that's ridiculous."
• The Spurs' spare-parts starting lineup: Patty Mills, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Boris Diaw and Aron Baynes. It's the first start of the year for Baynes and Mills, and the sixth for Diaw. "They'll be excited to play," Popovich said. "They'll want to be showing me that they should've been playing anyway."
• Bulls forward Luol Deng is back on the Chicago injury list. He's out tonight with another Achilles issue. Deng has led the Bulls in scoring 11 times so far this season. Asked who would start in place of Deng tonight, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau paused and said, "I don't know."
• Chicago point guard Kirk Hinrich will miss his fourth straight game with a sore back. Of course point guard Derrick Rose is out for the season but Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said before the game, injuries or not the Bulls will be tough. "No matter who they got on the court they're gonna be the same team, tough, defensive minded, physical. It's always tough when we go up against these guys."
• Durant has been hot lately, shooting 56.7 percent overall and 54.2 percent on threes during the Thunder's current seven game winning streak, "I really wish I could make a few more shots, I always just focus on what I can do better," he said.