Bulls vs. Spurs: Players Who Will Keep San Antonio's Streak Alive

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IIMarch 6, 2013

Kawhi Leonard will play a major role in San Antonio's rematch with Chicago.
Kawhi Leonard will play a major role in San Antonio's rematch with Chicago.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Dealing with injuries is something every team in the NBA has to deal with, however, the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs enter tonight's clash at the AT&T Center without their top performers. 

Three-time All-Star point guard Derrick Rose has yet to suit up for the Bulls this season, while the Spurs' leading scorer, 11-year veteran Tony Parker, is expected to miss the next four weeks with a grade 2 ankle sprain.

Still, San Antonio holds the best record in the NBA at 47-14, have won two straight games and are 19-3 in its last 22 contests. Basically, the Spurs are expected to win games no matter who is, or is not on the floor.

With Parker out of the lineup, though, San Antonio will look to reserve point guard Cory Joseph, sixth-man of the year candidate Manu Ginobili and small forward Kawhi Leonard to pick up the slack tonight.

Jospeh replaced Parker in the starting five last Sunday against the Detroit Pistons, and played quite well in 18 minutes of action. The former Texas Longhorn finished with eight points, four assists and just one turnover.

The Spurs do not need a whole lot of scoring out of Joseph, but the 6'3", 185-pounder has to take care of the basketball and run the offense efficiently for San Antonio to top one of the best defensive teams in the NBA tonight.

Ginobili is heating up for the Spurs at the right time as well. The Argentinian shooting guard has shot better than 57 percent from the field in San Antonio's last two games, and dished out 15 assists last Friday against the Sacramento Kings.

In order to topple the Bulls at home tonight, the Spurs need Ginobili to keep his hot streak alive.

There is no doubt that Leonard will be the most excited of the Spurs' three key players entering this evening's clash with Chicago.

The first and only other time these two teams butted heads this season, Leonard scored a career-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting. 

Leonard's outburst helped San Antonio top the Bulls 103-89 at the United Center in Chicago back on Feb. 11. No team has held Leonard under 10 points since Feb. 10, and the Spurs need him to reach double figures once again to take down Luol Deng and Co.

San Antonio will win tonight's rematch handily if Joseph, Ginobili and Leonard all manage to take a majority of the load off of star center Tim Duncan.


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