Spurs Will Tie Impressive NBA Road Record With Win At Bulls

Spurs player Kawhi Leonard in action

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, December 8, 2016 5:41 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 5:41 PM UTC

The San Antonio Spurs visit the Chicago Bulls for a 9:30 p.m. ET tip on Thursday, the second game of the TNT doubleheader. It is the first meeting of the year between the clubs. Last season the teams split, each winning at home. 

San Antonio Spurs At Chicago Bulls (+4)

The Bulls are coming off a 102-91 loss on Tuesday at Detroit.  The Bulls are now on negative streaks of 3-6, 1-4 and 0-3 SU since winning 4 straight. Defense has been a major recent issue for Chicago as it has allowed 100 or more points in 7 of the past 9 games.  

This has been a common theme the last 2 years in the current coaching regime.  High-scoring Chicago guard Jimmy Butler acknowledges the issue saying, “We are not defending the way we are capable. We are messing up assignments, not boxing out, not playing to guys’ weaknesses.  We gotta fix it!”  

Saying and doing, however, are two different things.  Butler is averaging 26 PPG for the year.  He is ably aided on that end of the court with veteran offensive players Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo.  But those two players are on the downside of their career as defensive stoppers.  In short, the Bulls are the far inferior defensive team in this matchup.  But that’s not the big story of this game.  

Under Coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs have always been a great road team. Tonight, they enter with a record of 13-0 SU away WITH 12 OF THOSE 13 VICTORIES BY 5 OR MORE POINTS. A victory here would tie an NBA record for consecutive road wins to open a season, set by last year's Warriors who opened 14-0 away from home. Despite all their good work, which includes a recent 4-game winning streak, they Spurs still trail Golden State by a game for the best record in the conference.

This will continue to provide needed incentive for the Spurs.  Even with the absence of Tim Duncan this season, Popovich has, to no one’s surprise, integrated former Bull Pau Gasol into that role, seeing Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge continue to improve and, as usual, discover key bench players to give the Spurs one of the deepest teams in the league.

For technical support, consider that the Bulls are playing their 5th game in 7 days.  Tired teams playing at home off 3 or more consecutive defeats are a better than 62% PLAY AGAINST on NBA picks the last 20 years. With all the above, it points to a Spurs win and cover.

NBA Free Pick: Spurs -4Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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