CHICAGO(AP) Gregg Popovich knows the difference between an average team and a championship contender. After giving up more than 100 points in their last three games, the Spurs got their coach's message and turned it up on the defensive end.
Tony Parker had 20 points and eight assists to lead the Spurs to a 92-87 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
Tim Duncan added 18 points and 14 rebounds to help the Spurs bounce back after their worst loss of season, a 109-87 setback in Philadelphia on Friday night.
"They scored 87 and that's who we are,'' Popovich said. "People have to score in the 80s or 90s for us to win. If they score over 100, we're just an average team.''
Manu Ginobili had 21 points, scoring the final nine points of the game for the Spurs in the last 1:04. San Antonio has won 11 of its last 14 games.
Andres Nocioni had 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds for Chicago.
With San Antonio down 82-81 in the final 2 minutes, Parker spun around Derrick Rose for a layup. Then, on the defensive end Bruce Bowen stole a pass from Nocioni to set up Manu Ginobili's 3-pointer that gave the Spurs an 86-82 lead with 1:04 left.
"What happened in Philadelphia was embarrassing,'' Ginobili said. "We held a talented team to 87. That's who we are. That's who we want to be.''
Ginobili made two free throws to put the Spurs up 88-82 with 36.8 left.
The Bulls had some hope left when Parker fouled Nocioni on a 3-point attempt. Nocioni made three free throws to get to 90-87 with 31 seconds left, but Nocioni fouled Ginobili on a 3-point attempt, who made two of three free throws.
"I thought we played good enough to win,'' Nocioni said. "But that's the way we have to play every night. The last four games we played together and with much more effort.''
Ben Gordon added 20 points for Chicago.
The Spurs held Rose to 6-of-21 shooting for 12 points. He took the ball to the lane repeatedly, but never got to the free throw line.
"I'm used to it now,'' said Rose, who thought he would get to the line eventually. "There wasn't a doubt in my mind, but I'm not the refs.''
Rose was 1-for-7 shooting in the fourth quarter.
"The second half we played better defense and made the stops needed to win the game,'' Parker said. "We did a good job on Derrick Rose and Ben Gordon tried not to give (them) easy shots.''
Chicago went on a 6-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to tie it at 77. Rose hit a jumper, and Nocioni had back-to-back baskets to tie it with 4:19 left. Then with 3:13 left, Drew Gooden gave the Bulls a 82-81 lead with a three-point play.
Notes: Cubs slugger Alfonso Soriano and pitcher Carlos Zambrano attended the game. Zambrano was seated in a suite, and Soriano sat in the first row in the second level.