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Bulls at Spurs: What bettors need to know

Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs (-7.5, 190.5)

The San Antonio Spurs seek their ninth victory in 11 games when they host the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday. San Antonio has the top record in the NBA and will be playing its second game since losing standout point guard Tony Parker for approximately a month with an ankle injury. Chicago also has ailing players and will be without forward Taj Gibson (knee) and guard Richard Hamilton (back) while point guard Kirk Hinrich (foot) is doubtful.

The Bulls lost at Indiana on Sunday to begin a stretch in which they play five of six games on the road. Chicago has been without star point guard Derrick Rose (knee) all season and the recent injuries have further depleted the team’s depth. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he doesn’t want the injuries to be used as an excuse. “It’s the NBA,” Thibodeau said after the loss to the Pacers. “We’ve got plenty in that locker room. We’ve got to get the job done.” San Antonio is 24-3 at home and has won 20 of its last 21 home games as it plays the fourth contest of a six-game homestand.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio)

ABOUT THE BULLS (34-26, 27-33-0 ATS): Center Joakim Noah has recorded three straight double-doubles and has 30 on the season. Noah is averaging 19.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.3 blocks during the stretch. He had 15 rebounds when Chicago lost to San Antonio last month but tallied just seven points. Guard Marco Belinelli scored 20 points against Indiana after a dismal three-game stretch in which he averaged seven points and shot 29.6 percent from the field. Forward Jimmy Butler also fared well against the Pacers with a season-best 20 points.

ABOUT THE SPURS (47-14, 34-25-2 ATS): Second-year guard Cory Joseph drew the start in place of Parker against the Pistons and had eight points, four assists and one turnover in 18 minutes. Joseph was recently recalled from the Austin Toros of the D-League and impressed San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich with this showing against Detroit. “I thought he did a fine job,” Popovich said afterward. “He played a good floor game. I like his defense. I like his aggressive attitude, as far as loose balls and sticking his nose in. He’s a really committed, physical player and runs the show well.” Gary Neal will see more time at the point as his leg injury improves. Neal played 8 1/2 minutes off the bench against the Pistons after sitting out the previous three games.

TRENDS:

* Bulls are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 vs. Western Conference.
* Spurs are 38-16-3 ATS in their last 57 home games.
* Under is 6-0 in the last six meetings in San Antonio.
* Under is 8-2 in the last 10 meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:
 
1. The teams have split the last 12 meetings but San Antonio has won eight of its last 11 home games against the Bulls.

2. Spurs F Kawhi Leonard scored a career-best 26 points in a 104-94 victory in Chicago on Feb. 11.

3. Chicago F Luol Deng is shooting just 35.1 percent from the field over the last three games.

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