Rapid Reaction: Bulls 96, Spurs 86

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
11:13
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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SAN ANTONIO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 96-86 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at AT&T Center.

How it happened: Jimmy Butler had one of his best games of the season, stuffing the stat sheet to the tune of 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks and an assist. Carlos Boozer added 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Bulls set the tempo all night and played solid defense down the stretch. Tony Parker led the Spurs with 20 points and six assists, but it wasn't enough for a depleted Spurs team that struggled to score all night.

What it means: This has to be one of the most pleasing wins of the season for Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and his players. Joakim Noah (flu) and Kirk Hinrich (hamstring) were game-time decisions to play and ended up making big plays throughout the night. Noah almost racked up a triple-double, and Hinrich made several big shots in the final minutes. The most important sign of the night for the Bulls was the play of Butler. The third-year swingman has really struggled over the past few weeks with his shot, but he bounced back in a major way against the Spurs -- especially on the defensive end. As Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before the game, the Bulls are going to be in almost every contest because of their defense. That's true, and they won this game because of it.

Hits: D.J. Augustin had 15 points and five assists, while Taj Gibson added 15 points of his own.

Misses: Mike Dunleavy was just 3-for-11 from the field.

Stat of the night: The Bulls outscored the Spurs 52-26 in the paint.

What's next: The Bulls take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night in Louisiana.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5