Drama-filled Bulls rally from 21 points down to beat the Spurs in San Antonio
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
SAN ANTONIO — A team that comes in on a three-game skid, fights back to win 98-93 after overcoming a 21-point deficit but leaves town sitting near the Eastern Conference basement with a 7-23 record usually doesn’t draw much attention.
But drama sells, and few teams in the NBA can match the Bulls’ soap opera.
The latest episode unfolded Saturday. Jabari Parker’s camp has asked the Bulls to move him but is hoping to work with management in an amicable way to find Parker a better situation.
On Friday, the Bulls began shopping Parker, who has fallen out of favor with coach Jim Boylen because of a lack of effort on the defensive end. To compound matters, he also doesn’t execute the little things on offense that Boylen feels are winning basketball plays.
“That’s between me and him,’’ Parker said Thursday when asked if he would ask his agent to push for a trade. “Just don’t know.’’
Saturday was the first day that the offseason free-agent acquisition was eligible to be moved, and if there was any lingering uncertainty about how far Parker has fallen out of favor, the Bulls’ victory against the Spurs was Exhibit A.
Even though the Bulls were short-handed, Parker wasn’t a consideration.
The Bulls sent leading scorer Zach LaVine back to Chicago to get further tests on his left ankle. He suffered a sprained deltoid ligament late in the loss to the Magic, was put in a walking boot and was expected to get a second opinion.
“He’s going to see some specialists because we want to get as much information as we can,’’ Boylen said. “And then we’ll get a diagnosis and start building a rehab schedule. We’ll give you more information on Wednesday and Thursday.’’
With LaVine out, Boylen went with the two-point-guard attack of Kris Dunn and Ryan Arcidiacono. Justin Holiday remained the starting small forward, and Chandler Hutchison backed up Holiday.
Parker was the third option at small forward, which meant his red warmup stayed on and his hands were clapping from the bench.
But there wasn’t much to clap about early in the game. The Bulls looked like a team missing its leader out of the gate, getting staggered by the Spurs (15-15) in the first half. They trailed 62-43 and seemed to lack any punching power without LaVine.
Then the third quarter happened.
Dunn, who was making his first start since returning from an injured left knee earlier in the week, went 5-for-9, scoring 10 points, grabbing three rebounds and nabbing three steals, as the Bulls outscored the Spurs 31-16 in the quarter.
They kept rallying in the fourth, and Dunn, who had 24 points, closed out the game by scoring the last six points to secure the victory.
“The team came out in the second half and fought well,’’ Dunn said. “My team believes in me, and it was a great team win.’’
Boylen was emotional afterward because the victory came against his mentor, Gregg Popovich, and in his old stomping grounds before joining the Bulls.
“It’s very humbling to come into this building and coach against the Spurs,’’ Boylen said. “You guys know how much respect I have for those people over there and how much love I have for them. I don’t care who you are, it’s hard playing your friends, and we’re thankful for the win.’’