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Guards lead Bulls to rare win against Spurs

Jan 15, 2007 - 11:29 PM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- The Chicago Bulls did not let their guard down.

Backcourt mates Ben Gordon and Kirk Hinrich combined for 43 points and outplayed their counterparts as the Bulls posted a 99-87 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, who had not lost at the United Center in over six years.

Luol Deng scored 17 points and Andres Nocioni added 12 for the Bulls, who held the Spurs to just under 40 percent (34-of-86) shooting in winning for just the third time in their last 17 meetings with the Spurs, including five straight here.

"(It) means a lot to beat a good team like San Antonio," Gordon said. "It was very satisfying, especially since we were shorthanded, so that makes it a great win. This is a team we haven't been able to beat on our home court, so that made the win even sweeter."

The Bulls played without center Ben Wallace (back) and guard Chris Duhon, who was placed on the inactive list for violating team rules.

"That seems to happen when you are short," Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. "I don't want to be shorthanded, but we have been able to get away with it for a couple of games. It is not something I want to do long-term."

Both Hinrich and Gordon made 9-of-18 shots. Hinrich had 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Gordon scored 20 points.

"The Bulls did a great job of coming with a lot of energy and a lot of aggressiveness," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I thought Hinrich and Gordon really created a lot of offense, not just for themselves but for everyone. On defense, we didn't do the job we needed to do."

After scoring just eight points on 3-of-22 shooting in consecutive games against Detroit and Houston earlier this month, Hinrich has tallied 95 points in his last four games.

"I have been feeling good the last few games," Hinrich said. "I kind of gotten back to myself, playing aggressive on both ends and I think my floor game has been a lot better."

Rookie Thabo Sefolosha added seven points on 3-of-3 shooting off the bench, helping pick up the slack.

Spurs All-Star point guard Tony Parker scored six points - all in the first period - on 3-of-9 shooting with just two assists.

"Tony had an off night," Spurs swingman Michael Finley said. "We are spoiled because of how good he plays for us all year long. Hopefully he can learn from this game and bounce back from it."

Backcourt mate Manu Ginobili scored 22 points but made just 7-of-20 shots, missing all four 3-pointers.

"In the beginning, we helped them out by not making open shots," Ginobili said. "They are aggressive, young and athletic. At times it seems like there are six of them out on the court."

Tim Duncan had 21 points and 16 rebounds for San Antonio, which had a four-game winning streak snapped.

"I thought the key was to contain Duncan and Parker," Gordon said. "P.J. (Brown) did a good job on Tim and Kirk did a great job on Tony. He couldn't get into a rhythm tonight and that worked for us."

Chicago outscored San Antonio, 31-21, in the second period as Gordon sparked the offense with 11 points on a variety of drives and jumpers. His 21-footer with 4:33 left gave Chicago a 42-32 edge and the Bulls carried a 52-45 lead into intermission.

Chicago maintained its edge throughout the third period and broke open the game early in the fourth quarter. Hinrich converted a three-point play on a nice drive to the hoop before successive 3-pointers by Nocioni and Sefolosha provided the Bulls an 83-67 advantage with 9:23 left.

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