San Antonio Spurs at Chicago Bulls (-1.5, 192)
The Chicago Bulls are in the midst of a stretch where they are playing eight of nine games on the road, and the lone home game could be their toughest test when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. The Bulls are coming off a six-game road trip in which they went 3-3 and saw their typical iron-clad defense shredded in back-to-back losses to Central Division rival Indiana and Denver. The Bulls did tighten things up defensively in their last outing, holding off the Utah Jazz 93-89 on Friday night.
San Antonio is facing a trek even more difficult than that of the Bulls, playing the fourth contest on its nine-game rodeo road trip. Winners of 12 of 13, the Spurs bounced back from a loss in Detroit by annihilating the Brooklyn Nets 111-86 on Sunday night. Despite playing without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs flexed their own defensive muscles, giving up only 29 points in the second half after permitting 35 in the first quarter. San Antonio became the first team in the league to win 40 games.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), Comcast SportsNet Chicago, NBATV
ABOUT THE SPURS (40-12, 29-21-2 ATS): Duncan has missed three straight and eight of 10 and Ginobili has sat out four in a row, but Parker has been immense at the start of the road trip. He had 29 points and 11 assists against Brooklyn and is averaging 30.3 points and nine assists in the last three. He has five double-doubles and 10 20-point games in his last 11 to insert his name into the MVP conversation. "He's carrying the whole team, especially when Tim and Manu are out," Spurs forward Boris Diaw said. "He's doing everything on the court."
ABOUT THE BULLS (30-20, 21-29-0 ATS): Chicago has also been dealing with myriad injuries. Center Joakim Noah has missed three of the last five games due to plantar fasciitis and is a game-time decision. Guard Kirk Hinrich will sit out his sixth straight game with an elbow infection. In addition, power forward Carlos Boozer was sidelined for the first three games of the recent road trip but had 19 points in the win over Utah. Boozer, who has failed to score 20 points in 10 games, has been linked to trade talks involving Toronto's Andrea Bargnani.
* Under is 8-1 in the last nine meetings.
* Spurs are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Spurs are 10-4-3 ATS in their last 17 games playing on zero days rest.
* Bulls are 6-17 ATS in their last 23 vs. Western Conference.
1. The fastest team to 40 wins hasn't meant much in the past seven seasons. Only the Boston Celtics (2007-08) went on to advance to the NBA Finals.
2. Chicago has won four of the past five meetings.
3. San Antonio owns the league's most road victories (18-10).