Poeltl, DeRozan lead Spurs past Bulls in Vucevic’s debut

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Jakob Poeltl scored 20 points, DeMar DeRozan had 17 and the San Antonio Spurs held on to beat Chicago 120-104 on Saturday night in Nikola Vucevic’s debut with the Bulls, snapping a four-game losing streak.

Vucevic had 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists in his Chicago debut. The Bulls acquired the All-Star center Thursday in a trade with Orlando. Zach Lavine added 18 points for Chicago, which lost its third straight.

San Antonio nearly blew a 36-point lead but held on to win for the first time since defeating Cleveland on March 19. The Spurs are 20-3 when holding a double-digit lead at any point in a game.

Coming off two disappointing losses to the Los Angeles Clippers, including a 134-101 blowout Wednesday, San Antonio needed a boost and their veterans provided it.

Poeltl and DeRozan combined to shoot 15 for 23 from the field.

But after scoring 96 points through three quarters, San Antonio floundered in the fourth.

The Bulls outscored the Spurs 25-11 in the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter to pull within 107-98 on Vucevic’s second 3-pointer of the game.

DeRozan and Poeltl combined to score the next seven points to give San Antonio a 114-98 lead with 3:23 remaining.

Derrick White and Patty Mills added 16 points each, and Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson had 14 points each.

The Spurs’ backcourt of Murray and White combined to score nine points in the opening three minutes. The duo helped San Antonio take a 23-11 lead in the opening quarter.

Derrick White’s second 3-pointer put the Spurs up 54-27 with 5:27 remaining in the first half.

San Antonio finished 10 for 25 on 3-poitners.