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01/30/2014 1:32 AM EST
Bulls topple Spurs 96-86
CHICAGO 96, SAN ANTONIO 86

By RAUL DOMINGUEZ
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- The Chicago Bulls took advantage of the
injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.

Jimmy Butler had 19 points and Carlos Boozer added 16 points and
12 rebounds and the Bulls handed the Spurs their third straight
loss, 96-86.

"It was huge," Butler said. "It's big to come in here and get a
win on the road."

Tony Parker had 20 points and Tim Duncan had 17 points and 12
rebounds for San Antonio, which hadn't lost back-to-back games
until this current skid.

The Spurs were without Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green
and Tiago Splitter, who were all out due to injuries.

Ginobili joined San Antonio's growing injury list Tuesday night,
straining his left hamstring against Houston after throwing down
a one-handed dunk.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich dismissed any talk of fatigue.

"I don't care, that's just an excuse," Popovich said. "Everybody
tried as hard as they could. I don't know how to measure
fatigue. Just go play. We try to watch people's minutes and that
kind of thing.

"It doesn't matter who's hurt, or what your schedule is, or
anything like that. You go play. Nobody cares. All that matters
is the win or the loss. We lost or defensive consistency and
they went up."

The Bulls can certainly relate after losing All-Star point guard
Derrick Rose to a season-ending knee injury.

The Bulls have attempted to step up collectively since the
injury and that depth led them to their 10th road victory of the
season.

Chicago had seven players score in double figures, with D.J.
Augustin and Taj Gibson adding 15 points each and Joakim Noah
had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

"We have a roster full of NBA players just like everybody else,"
Butler said. "A lot of people sleep on us, but we have a really
talented group of guys that do so many things well. When we play
together and just as hard as we can, I think we can win a lot of
games."

With four players missing from their main rotation, the Spurs
turned to their depth with less effectiveness.

Nando De Colo and newly signed Othyus Jeffers, who both played
in the D League, both started for the first time this season.
Jeffers brought hustle and De Colo another distributor, but
neither brought much offense. Jeffers failed to score, going 0
for 1 from the field, and De Colo had eight points.

It led to a disjointed and inconsistent offense for San Antonio.
The Spurs had 19 turnovers and only 16 assists on their 33 field
goals.

"It's tough to keep a rhythm," Duncan said. "With a lot of our
guys out, our consistency just isn't there on both ends. We
can't sustain for the periods of time that we need to.

"But at various points throughout the game we're where we want
to be. And then we go through lulls where defense or offense
can't get it done."

San Antonio went scoreless for nearly five minutes as part of
Chicago's 12-5 run to close the first quarter. It could have
been worse, but Patty Mills made a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds
remaining to keep the Spurs within 21-15.

San Antonio responded with a 17-3 run to take a 27-24 lead.
Chicago scored just seven points in 10 minutes bridging the
first and second quarters, turning a 21-12 lead into a 36-28
deficit.

But the second half belonged to the Bulls and Butler.

"It's just tough right now," Parker said. "Back to back, it felt
like we had no energy. We didn't make shots in the first half.
We had some pretty good looks in the first half; open 3s. They
just didn't go in and we just try to fight through it. We tried
to get some energy in the second half, but they played better
than us."

Butler was 7 for 11 from the field as the Spurs had no answer
for the athletic forward.

"Jimmy was terrific," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, "with his
defense and then turned that defense into offense, which was a
big plus for us."

Not having to guard Ginobili, Leonard or Green on the wings
allowed Butler to defend Parker and the other Spurs guards.

Parker finished 8 for 17 with six assists in 34 minutes.

"It's a challenge (defending Parker)," Butler said. "He can do
so many things well, but whenever I was beat, I had Taj
(Gibson), (Nazr) Mohammed, Jo (Noah) or Booz (Boozer) to alter
his shot or make him go a different direction."

NOTES: Green (fractured left index finger), Leonard (fractured
right fourth metacarpal) and Splitter (sprained right shoulder)
all sat behind the bench during the game, all wearing sport
coats with no ties. Ginobili was not with the team. ... Noah
(illness) and Kirk Hinrich (right hamstring) both played after
being game-time decisions due to injury. ... Jeffers endeared
himself to the fans and Spurs quickly, diving onto court twice
on the same possession for a loose ball, earning a jump ball.
... Noah was given a technical foul with 5:02 remaining in the
third by official Josh Tiven. As he ran back defensively, Noah
punched the air in disgust after missing a layup he thought was
caused by a foul on Duncan. ... When asked how the Spurs will
handle the rash of recent injuries, coach Gregg Popovich said he
didn't want to be a smart-(aleck) but ... "You play the guys on
the bench. We can't play the guys on the other team. I know
that."

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