by Chuck Swirsky
GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Bulls (0-1) host the San Antonio Spurs (1-0).
7PM tip TV: WGN TV: Neil Funk and Stacey King
Radio: WLS 890AM Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul.
BullsTV on Bulls.com will air live streaming video of Bulls pregame show beginning at 6:30PM.
LAST GAME: Toronto 117 Bulls 101. Lopez 18 points 8 reb.. Markkanen 17 points 8 rebounds.
Spurs 107 Minnesota 99. LaMarcus Aldridge 25 points 10 rebounds
KEY TO THE GAME: Bulls bench. Simple as that. They must bring energy and make plays on both sides of the ball. Bulls need to do their best to contain San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge who over the years has feasted on a steady diet of big games against the Bulls. His career stats vs. Chicago: 20 points 8 rebounds. 52% in 21 career games.
DID YOU KNOW…..Bulls icon John Paxson was drafted in the first round (19th overall) by the Spurs in 1983. He played his first two seasons in San Antonio after a tremendous career at Notre Dame.
“The year before I got there, the team (Spurs) won 57 games. They had George Gervin, Artis Gilmore, Mike Mitchell, Johnny Moore, Gene Banks and they lost to the Lakers in the Conference Finals in six games. Stan Albeck (Head Coach) left for NJ and they made a coaching change. The whole vibe wasn’t very good and we got off to a terrible start. I didn’t play much my rookie year (49 games). I loved San Antonio as a city, it’s great.”
Paxson on what the Spurs have accomplished the past over the past 20 years:
“Pop (Head Coach Gregg Popovich) is the best. He is a no nonsense guy. A great basketball person. They have R.C. Buford (General Manager) behind the scenes, who is someone who probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He’s won a couple Executive of the Year awards but he’s not a real visible guy. They’ve had a consistent culture. You have to be impressed with the longevity of their success.”
Bulls Associate Head Coach Jim Boylen spent two seasons on the bench with the Spurs and was a member of the 2014 NBA title team. He learned plenty from his experience working for the Spurs. Boylen tells CCI….
“A few nuggets from my time in San Antonio….Less is more. Keep things simple. Play the right way. .5 – meaning shoot it, pass it or drive it. Don’t hold it. Character is worth more than talent. Pop (Gregg Popovich) coaches on principle, not on personality.”
That about sums it up, doesn’t it?
Since Gregg Popovich took over as full time Head Coach of the Spurs, he has a winning percentage of a mind blowing and astonishing .712. Granted, he’s had superstar players such as David Robinson, Tim Duncan and now Kawhi Leonard. But regardless of roles, players buy in. Period.
One final note on the Spurs. Manu Ginobili is one of three 40-year-old players in the NBA, a first in league history. Name the other two? Answer below.
NBA NEWS and NOTES:
Houston’s Chris Paul is out 2-4 weeks with a bruised knee.
The Mavs’ prize rookie, Dennis Smith missed last night’s game with knee swelling.
Knicks rookie guard Frank Ntilikina suffered an apparent ankle injury in Friday’s practice.
Lonzo Ball busted out in game two in impressive fashion. His robust numbers 29-11-9, one assist shy from becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double. Ball will turn 20, October 27. Lakers held on for a two point win over Phoenix.
Cleveland’s Derrick Rose sprained an ankle in the fourth quarter last night and is likely out tonight against Orlando. It was fun watching LeBron and Giannis on the floor together. Love the NBA!
Minnesota recorded its first home sellout since 2012 of 18,798 in attendance as the T-Wolves beat Utah and yes, Rodney Hood suffered another injury. Jamal Crawford scored 17 in the 4th. The former Bull has been named Sixth Man Award Winner three times…I think he’s a Hall of Fame player. Maybe the greatest NBA player coming off the bench, ever.
The good news for Magic fans, Nikola Vucevic scored a career high 41. The bad news…they lost to the Nets.
Dwight Howard’s “revenge game” went rather well as the Hornets blasted the Hawks. Howard with a 20-15 game and after committing his fifth foul, kissed referee Eric Lewis on the head. True.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The Kings’. Vince Carter is the NBA’s oldest player. He will turn 41 in January. The other 40-year-old joining Carter and Manu is Milwaukee’s Jason Terry.
Always a pleasure. Email me at email@example.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls