SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Spurs extended their home winning streak to start the season to 31 after a win over the Chicago Bulls Thursday night at the AT&T Center, but it was not easy.
The Bulls hung tough throughout the game even without some of their key players like Jimmy Butler, who was out with an injury.
Tim Duncan didn't waste anytime grabbing his 15,000 rebound, which puts him 6th on the NBA all-time list.
"To see my name up there with some of guys that are up there, it's impressive. It's amazing, a lot of fun to see that,” Duncan said.
"I've said it many times, unbelievable," Tony Parker said.
The Spurs had to withstand several charges by the Bulls in order to keep their home winning streak history alive.
They are 31-0 at home this season and have won 40 straight games overall at the AT&T Center dating back to last season.
After a decent start, the Bulls got the lead in the second quarter. The Spurs then went on a run 16-5 run fueled by David West who had all 8 his points in the second quarter.
"Everybody has to be productive and I'm just trying to do my job." West said.
Parker really got the job done especially in the third quarter when he had 8 points, including a patented baseline 360 degree spinning reverse.
Parker scored the Spurs first three field goals of the quarter and finished the night with a double-double, 20 points and a season high 12 assists.
"Just trying to be aggressive and came back to the passing in the fourth quarter,” Parker said.
"He played a great all around game, he was working hard at both ends of the court," said Gregg Popovich, Spurs head coach.
Even with that performance the Spurs could not maintain a solid lead.
Thanks to big shots from Derrick Rose who scored 21 and Pau Gasol who finished with 20, the Bulls cut the lead down to three.
"They know basketball and it's hard to play against a team that's always together like that," said Rose.
That knowledge was on full display in the fourth quarter when the Spurs took over down the stretch and pulled out the victory in large part because of Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Leonard finished with 29 points on 10 of 15 shooting, including 4 three-pointers. Aldridge finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Parker even agreed it felt like a playoff atmosphere. "We're getting closer and closer to the playoffs so every game is going to get like that and it is going to look like that," Parker said.
Kevin Martin suited up for the first time wearing No. 23. Popovich put him in the game in the first half and like he usually does, he got fouled and went to the line. He made one out of two but already made an impression.
"First time he got the ball he got two free throws, we were laughing with Timmy saying 'oh my gosh' unbelievable, he's got a gift for that drawing fouls, I'm just happy he's on our team now," Parker said.
Bulls: Host Miami on Friday.
Spurs: Host Oklahoma City on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on KSAT 12