National Basketball Association
Preview
San Antonio at Chicago
When: 9:30 PM ET, Thursday, December 8, 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois

The San Antonio Spurs have yet to drop a road game in 13 attempts in 2016-17 and will try to wrap up a sweep of the current three-game trip when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Thursday. Spurs star forward Kawhi Leonard is on a roll and is helping the team overcome an injury to point guard Tony Parker.

Leonard went 11-of-15 from the floor en route to 31 points in a 105-91 win at Minnesota on Tuesday and drew praise from coach Gregg Popovich. "By this point in his career, he's a confident player," Popovich told reporters of Leonard. "He knows he has a green light. We call his number now and then, but he does a lot of this stuff on his own, and he's getting pretty good at pick-and-roll. Special, special young man." The Bulls are losers of three in a row since knocking off the Cleveland Cavaliers, and star swingman Jimmy Butler is putting the blame on the defense. "We're not defending the way we're capable of," Butler told reporters. "Messing up assignments, we're not boxing out. We're not playing to guys' weaknesses. We can't let that happen. We got to fix it. We got to treat every last one of these games like it's our last one."

TV:
9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, CSN Chicago

ABOUT THE SPURS (18-4): Parker missed three of the last four games and is questionable to make his return from a thigh injury on Thursday, though San Antonio is confident in Argentinian rookie Nicolas Laprovittola starting in his absence. "We knew that Tony was gonna miss some games, and to have another person that has the courage and the experience to play that position is important," Popovich told reporters. "... He has the same spirit as Manu (Ginobili). He's got no fear. I wish he was 6-7 like Manu. But he's been there. He's been around. He's not intimidated by the NBA. He's not impressed. He's enjoying himself, but it's not debilitating for him." Laprovittola scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting on Tuesday.

ABOUT THE BULLS (11-10):
Chicago's starting point guard missed some time recently as well, with Rajon Rondo serving a one-game ban for conduct detrimental to the team during Monday's 112-110 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. The enigmatic former All-Star, who is averaging 8.3 points, 6.9 assists and 6.4 rebounds, handed out two assists in 37 minutes during Tuesday's loss at Detroit. "We’re hitting a rough patch right now and you’ve got to find a way to fight through that," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters. "It’s what’s going to define our team this year is how we handle these adverse situations. You’ve got to keep fighting and you’ve got to keep trusting each other."

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Bulls F Doug McDermott (concussion) missed the last 11 games but hopes to be cleared for Thursday.

2. San Antonio G Patty Mills is 2-of-12 from 3-point range in the last two games.

3. The teams split the two-game series in each of the last three seasons.

PREDICTION: Spurs 106, Bulls 101
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
San Antonio 18-4 W4 5-4 13-0 1-0 17-4 4-1 10-3
Chicago 11-10 L3 5-3 6-7 0-0 11-10 2-2 8-5
Last Meeting
San Antonio Chicago
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/10/16 CHI 101 SA 109 109 40 47.3 101 50 45.3
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
San Antonio K. Leonard 29 66.7 5
Chicago P. Gasol 21 50.0 4
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
San Antonio L. Aldridge 10 1 9
Chicago P. Gasol 12 4 8
Assists Player  
San Antonio T. Parker 12
Chicago D. Rose 6
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
San Antonio K. Leonard 615 46.4 163
Chicago J. Butler 610 45.7 217
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
San Antonio P. Gasol 178 31 147
Chicago T. Gibson 213 65 148
Assists Player  
San Antonio P. Mills 88
Chicago R. Rondo 159
Quickchart Matchup
San Antonio San Antonio Off vs  Chicago Chicago Defense
San Antonio Off vs Chicago - Points For 102.8 Points For
San Antonio Off vs Chicago - Points Against 100.3 Points Against
San Antonio - FG% 46.3 FG%
Chicago - FG% 44.7 FG%
San Antonio - Reb 41.6 Reb
Chicago - Reb 43.1 Reb
Chicago Chicago Off vs  San Antonio San Antonio Defense
Chicago Off vs San Antonio - Points For 103.3 Points For
Chicago Off vs San Antonio - Points Against 97.8 Points Against
Chicago - FG% 44.0 FG%
San Antonio - FG% 45.0 FG%
Chicago - Reb 48.5 Reb
San Antonio - Reb 41.2 Reb