SAN ANTONIO – Not that it mattered in the end, but just to get it out of the way early: The Spurs were missing six players when they took on the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night at the AT&T Center.
As the late, great Darrell Royal would say, there were a lot of empty saddles on the San Antonio bench.
But the Silver and Black, who shot a scorching 60 percent and hit 18 three-pointers, got double-figure scoring from eight players and led from wire to wire in a 133-94 blowout.
The victory came after a 94-87 San Antonio loss to Milwaukee on Friday night and capped a six-game home stand. The Spurs, who went 4-2 in the home stand, play at Dallas on Tuesday night.
"It was pretty good," center Pau Gasol said of the home stand. "We started out with a tough loss against Golden State. We know how difficult they are as a team to play against. Last night was the one we should've, could've gotten, and we didn't. But, overall, we took care of business the rest of the games and now we go on the road."
The Spurs opened the home stand with a 20-point loss to the defending champion Warriors, but bounced back with wins against the Hornets, Suns and Clippers before falling to the Bucks.
Gasol set the pace for the Spurs against the Bulls, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds, both game highs. He had one of his best games of the season, nailing 8 of 11 shots, including 3 of 3 from beyond the arc, and dishing out four assists in 27 minutes.
“Teammates found me,” Gasol said of his good shooting night. “I’ve been shooting better lately and knocking down the three better, so that helps always because it opens up the floor and I can drive and kick. I can create more for my teammates. We executed well and took care of the ball better tonight, so we just have to keep up that same play.”
The Silver and Black (8-5) put the Bulls (2-9) on their heels with red-hot shooting Saturday night, making 51 of 85 shots from the field and nailing 18 of 27 attempts (66.7 percent) from the three-point line.
The Spurs played without Danny Green (hamstring), Manu Ginobili (rest), Kawhi Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy), Tony Parker (left quadriceps surgery), Joffrey Lauvergne (sprained right ankle) and Derrick White (fractured right wrist).
“We had to play for each other,” said Rudy Gay, who came off the bench to score 15 points. “Continue to move the ball and on defense help each other. It really doesn’t matter who’s out there on the court. Obviously, we wish our guys were back. But we have play as if we’re trying to win every game and play with each player, no matter who it is.”
Davis Bertans scored 16 points off the bench and buried 5 of 6 three-pointers. Bryn Forbes and Brandon Paul each finished with three treys. Forbes, who scored 13 points, started for Green at guard.
“Sometimes it’s tough not getting those minutes to stay ready, so I try to come to every game assuming I am going to play and prepare for every game exactly the same,” said Bertans, who played 19 minutes. “It’s a lot of work mentally.
"One thing is being in the game no matter what, even if I’m on the bench. I try to support the team like that. Also spending a little extra time on the court in the gym and weight room also.”
The Spurs led by 22 (37-15) after one quarter and went ahead by 25 in the second before the Bulls showed some signs of life.
Chicago cut the deficit to 10, 57-47, with 2:20 left in the half, but that's as close as it got. San Antonio scored the last six points of the second quarter to go up 63-47 at halftime, and was led 97-70 heading into the fourth quarter.
Dejounte Murray (17), Bertans, Rudy Gay (15) and Brandon Paul (15) came off the bench to give the offense a boost with a combined 63 points. The Spurs bench scored 67 points, one more than the starting five.
LaMarcus Aldridge and Kyle Anderson were the two other starters in double figures. Patty Mills (4) was the only starter who didn't hit double digits.
Popovich told reporters before the game that Gay’s availability was “50-50,” but Gay shook off a sore back and played well.
“It just took a little longer for me to get ready, keep myself into it on the sideline trying to do my exercises and try to stay warm,” Gay said. “It’s one of those things where you’ve just got to keep moving. You stop moving, it’ll lock up, so I tried not to stop moving.”
Robin Lopez (17) was the only Bulls starter who scored in double figures. Bobby Portis and Kris Dunn finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Chicago shot 46.5 percent overall (40/86) and 26.1 percent (6/23) from the 3-point line.
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