SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tim Duncan went without a basket, ending a record-setting streak that lasted 1,310 games.
Good thing for the San Antonio Spurs that Tony Parker delivered his best game of the season.
Parker had a season-high 32 points and just one turnover in leading Spurs to their fifth straight victory, 116-105 over the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.
“Tony is playing at a high level again, that makes a big difference for them,” Chicago center Pau Gasol said. “It’s tough to beat them that way.”
Duncan failed to make a basket for the first time in his 18-year career, going 0 for 8 while finishing with just three points. But his struggles were lessened by balanced scoring and Parker’s brilliance.
Parker is returning to his All-Star form after being hindered much of the season by a strained hamstring that forced him to miss 13 games. He is again driving hard to the lane for his usual array of spins, layups, floaters and quick passes to teammates for corner 3-pointers.
“I’m still dealing with some stuff, but I’m going to fight through it,” Parker said. “I’m tired of talking about it. I kept saying I’m going to fight through it and I would rather play than stay out.”
Parker, averaging 25 points in his past three games, shot 13 for 19 and had two assists in 30 minutes.
Kawhi Leonard added 20 points, Patty Mills had 15 and Manu Ginobili 14 for the Spurs.
Chicago had 22 turnovers, which resulted in 32 points for San Antonio. The Spurs had 15 steals, including three each by Leonard and Ginobili.
“They are very active with their hands and they got a lot of steals,” Bulls power forward Joakim Noah said. “They got them into the open floor and we had no answer for that.”
Parker stole a soft pass from Nazr Mohammed to E’Twaun Moore near midcourt and sprinted down court for an uncontested layup.
“He’s been in that mode for the last two or three games and feeling pretty confident about his health,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “He was very explosive today and played a decent number of minutes, too. I think he’s where we would like him to be.”
Leonard later raced down court for a one-handed dunk on Moore and Noah after stripping Mike Dunleavy as he drove the lane for a 91-77 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
“It starts with Kawhi,” Parker said. “Kawhi has been unbelievable the last four or five games getting steals and getting stuff going on defense.”
Gasol had 23 points and Aaron Brooks added 22 to lead Chicago.
Kirk Hinrich’s 3-pointer pulled the Bulls to 93-85, but the Spurs then made three straight 3-pointers midway through the final quarter to pull away.
Already without All-Star point guard Derrick Rose, Chicago was missing Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.
“I was worried if we were going to have the ability to score enough and I think we can score enough,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The big thing is taking care of the ball and making sure we get back defensively.”
San Antonio (39-23) tied Dallas for sixth in the Western Conference. The Mavericks play the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.
Bulls: Gasol, who leads the NBA in double-doubles, recorded his 42nd early in the second half Sunday. … Nikola Mirotic was averaging 22 points in his previous four games and had 19 on 5-for-10 shooting against the Spurs. … Butler (left elbow sprain) and Gibson (left ankle) both sat out.
Spurs: Parker is averaging 25 points and four assists during the team’s current homestand. … San Antonio is halfway through a six-game homestand after returning from a nearly month long Rodeo Road Trip. The Spurs will host Toronto, Cleveland and Minnesota before embarking on a two-game road trip. … San Antonio wore its “Los Spurs” jerseys to commemorate its Latin Nights promotion.
A DUBIOUS FIRST
Popovich was jokingly asked if he would talk to Duncan so he wouldn’t have a basket-less game again.
“I don’t talk to Timmy too much anymore,” Popovich said. “So, if you want to tell him, go ahead. Say, ‘What the hell was that all about? What are you doing?'”
Chicago is in the midst of playing four games in five nights. They lost to Indiana on Friday to split a back-to-back against the Pacers and the Oklahoma City Thunder and will host Memphis on Monday night.
Injuries to Rose, Butler and Gibson makes the schedule even tougher.
“It gives you a good measure of what you’re going to need to do,” Thibodeau said. “You take something from every one of these games. This is the group we have and we have to figure out how to win with this group. I think we can.”
Bulls: Host Memphis on Monday.
Spurs: Host Toronto on Tuesday.
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