After hearing once more how these were supposedly “done” after another slow first half of this season, San Antonio has finally got healthy again and has been playing great basketball. Kawhi Leonard’s quick hands and confident shooting have already been huge for the Spurs since he returned last week. There’s undoubtedly now he is their utmost player, and now that they are mostly healthy (Marco Belinelli remains out with a groin injury), you can expect them to begin to round into their championship form.
The Bulls, on one other hand, have not played their utmost basketball by late. They have lost four out of their last five games, desperately missing the defensive presence of Joakim Noah who remains out by having an ankle injury. After their latest loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Derrick Rose is extremely frustrated, saying “it appears as though we are not competing.
The main element matchup with this game will soon be Leonard vs. Jimmy Butler. Leonard established himself as a celebrity in the league during last year’s NBA Finals, where Butler has which may be just as impressive this season, especially on the offensive end where he’s been a whole lot more aggressive this season. These two players have very similar varieties of play, and whoever wins this matchup will help swing the momentum of the overall game in support of their team.
Because this could be the second game of a back-to-back series traveling, I wouldn’t be surprised if Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich decides to rest a few of his players once again. The Spurs will in all probability show signs of fatigue, and I expect the Bulls to play far better after Rose’s fiery postgame speech. It will be a close one, but I’m going with the home team here.