Keys To The Game: Bulls at Spurs (1.28.22)

Remind Me Later


The Bulls take on DeMar DeRozan's former team, the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night as they look to string together a three-game win streak for the first time since early January.

Chicago will not be at 100% health but having Zach LaVine, DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic is enough for the Bulls to have a fighting chance against any opponent.

The Spurs have an intriguing team with some very impressive talent, especially on the defensive side. The lanky, 6-foot-4 Dejounte Murray has been an absolute menace on both sides of the ball this season.

Murray has 10 triple-doubles this season and has tied the Spurs franchise record for tripe-doubles in a career.

Murray will likely take the assignment of guarding LaVine or DeRozan, which means Chicago will need to be diligent on Friday night.

Take smart shots

Of course, it is always key to take smart shots on any given night, but the Spurs rarely turn the ball over. This means that the Bulls will need to take responsible shots to make sure they keep up with any possible hot streaks from the Spurs shooters (Doug McDermott, Devin Vassell).

Chicago thrives on offense despite being a low volume 3-point shooting team. Against a young Spurs squad, the Bulls should be able to screen, pass and cut their way into a solid array of shots on Friday evening.

Nikola Vucevic passing the ball against Utah

More offense from the bench unit

Chicago got 23 bench points in their last game, a 111-105 win over the Raptors. Coby White led the way for the backups with nine very valuable points.

The Bulls need their offense to stay afloat for periods of time when DeRozan, Vooch or LaVine is out. This is a lot easier when you have all three players available to stagger lineups, as Billy Donovan has done all season.

If Dejounte Murray is giving trouble to DeRozan or LaVine, it will be even more important for White, Troy Brown Jr. or others to step up and produce on the offensive end.

Troy Brown Jr. takes a 3-pointer

Box-out on defense

As one would imagine a Gregg Popovich team to be, the Spurs are well-coached. And playing to the strength of this current roster, they crash the offensive glass hard.

Per, the Spurs rank ninth in the league in offensive rebound rate, snagging 28.3% of their missed field goals.

This will be a tall task for a Bulls team that has to rely on gang-rebounding to out-rebound taller squads. What this does mean though, if Chicago contests every San Antonio shot, the numbers say there should be plenty of misses.

If Chicago focuses on boxing out, then they should be able to turn plenty of Spurs' misses into opportunities for transition offense.

Javonte Green boxing out Seth Curry

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