Bulls and Spurs stars sparkle heading into matchup

As DeMar DeRozan looks to continue his impressive scoring stretch, the Central Division-leading Chicago Bulls seek their fourth consecutive victory Monday night, facing the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

DeRozan has scored 30 or more points in six consecutive games (a career-high), and the last Bull to score 30-plus in seven straight games was Michael Jordan in 1996-97.

Yet, the Spurs aim for a third successive triumph of their own and bring another of the league’s hottest players into the Windy City, as Dejounte Murray leads a resurgence that the Spurs hope results in a playoff berth.

The Bulls came from behind to beat Oklahoma City 106-101 at home on Saturday behind DeRozan’s 38 points. Chicago trailed 90-89 midway through the fourth quarter before producing an 8-0 run to grab the lead for good.

Nikola Vucevic added 31 points and 15 rebounds for the Bulls.

“I just try to go out there and try to win no matter what and whatever the outcome comes with it,” said DeRozan, who leads the NBA with most 20-point games this season with 45. “If it’s records, my sole purpose of playing the way I play is just to win and whatever accomplishments come with it they just come with it.”

Having beaten the Bulls a couple weeks ago in San Antonio, but Spurs can sweep the season series Monday, and they’ll have some new faces on hand.

San Antonio is expected to have newly acquired Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford join the team in Chicago following their trade from Boston, and Tomas Satoransky, who came over in a deal with New Orleans, also could be added to the roster to face the Bulls.

The Spurs head to Chicago after a 124-114 win in New Orleans on Saturday that continued a tour de force for Murray. Murray scored 31 points and distributed 12 assists in the victory, giving him the 30-10 achievement in back-to-back games.

The only other Spurs’ player to have consecutive 30-10 games is Tony Parker.

San Antonio had not trailed in its past two games, having beaten Atlanta on Friday, 136-121, and has recorded rare back-to-back double-digit road victories.

“We have to continue to play with that chip on our shoulders,” Murray said. “Each and every one of us have something to prove. We’re trying to play together and have fun. I’m trying to smile and have fun more because if you have fun, it allows you to play really good basketball on both ends.”

Lonnie Walker IV added 17 points, Keldon Johnson hit for 16, and Doug McDermott had 15 for San Antonio in the win over New Orleans.

It was the 1,332nd career victory for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, tying him with Lenny Wilkens for second place in NBA history. Popovich needs four more to pass Don Nelson for the top spot.

Chicago’s Zach LaVine missed Saturday’s game with a sore left knee and left the team on Sunday to see a specialist. He is considered questionable for the contest with the Spurs and could miss the rest of the week leading up to the All-Star Break.

The Spurs beat Chicago 131-122 on Jan. 28 in San Antonio and have a three-game winning streak against the Bulls.

–Field Level Media