San Antonio Spurs: 3 Keys for needed bounce back win against Chicago

Mar 17, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White (4) handles the ball while defended by Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The San Antonio Spurs desperately need to pull out of this slump

The San Antonio Spurs currently find themselves in the midst of a massive homestand but have so far been unable to use the home-court advantage to lead to meaningful wins. After getting blown out by the LA Clippers on Wednesday night, they sputtered and struggled to get going in the rematch on Thursday.

Now it’s the Chicago Bulls’ turn to come to San Antonio. Fresh off of trading for Nikola Vuceivc – who will be available for his Bulls debut on Saturday night – Chicago comes to town looking for a win over their own after losing a few in a row.

It’s not quite time to hit the panic button but there’s no denying that the Spurs are in a bit of a rut right now. You know it, I know, heck, even the players know it. DeMar DeRozan told Jeff McDonald as much after their second loss to the Clippers.

“We know we can do it (Get back on track). We’ve done it for the majority of the season. We’ve competed with the best of the best teams. Right now, we just have hit that wall and we have to get up and keep going”

We can critique the on-court product but don’t question this group’s will or competitiveness. As we saw last season, things can get bleak but this is a team that is not going to throw in the towel and resign themselves to tanking for a higher draft pick. Returning to the playoffs has always been the goal and that’s not changing just because of a few ugly losses.

They’ll have an excellent to do exactly that tonight. Here’s what they need to focus on in order to beat the Chicago Bulls and get back on the right path.

The San Antonio Spurs have to make slowing down Nikola Vucevic a priority

The San Antonio Spurs are pretty familiar with Nikola Vucevic‘s game. Aside from the rumors of their interest in him prior to the trade deadline, they just faced the Magic in San Antonio earlier this month. In that contest they got a front-row seat to just how dangerous Vucevic can be.

In the first matchup between Vucevic and the Spurs, the All-Star big man cooked San Antonio for 26 points on 12-18 shooting. He was in a groove and it didn’t matter how well Jakob Poeltl defended him, he was making his shots. And that was with almost half of the Magic offense sitting out due to a variety of injuries. Now he’s got another All-Star in Zach LaVine by his side.

When the Spurs most recently faced Vuc they knew that Orlando was going to go to him almost every time they were on the attack and they still couldn’t stop him. Now they have to contend with LaVine as well. Guarding these two in pick and roll sets has the potential to be a real nightmare.

Together, LaVine and Vucevic are two of the most dangerous shooters above the break volume shooters in the league. Both of them attempt more than six above the break three’s per game and both of them are hitting them at an above 40 percent rate.

The Bulls can come down and run high pick and roll every time and unless the Spurs play it perfectly, they’re likely going to end up with an open look for one of Vuc or LaVine from their favorite spot. It’s a heck of a duo to defend against and this is the first time any team in the league is going to get a chance.


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