After having their 11-game winning streak snapped on Friday, the San Antonio Spurs wasted little time in starting a new one.
They smoked the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday to became the NBA's first 40-win team and will look for No. 41 on Monday night when they continue their rodeo road trip in Chicago against the Bulls.
After the Spurs fell by 10 in Detroit to the Pistons on Friday, they came out strong against the Nets. Still without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, San Antonio overcame a 10-point, first-quarter deficit. The Spurs buried the home team, 60-29, in the second half for the 111-86 victory.
"The last three quarters, we played very, very good defense," said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. "And at the same time, Tony Parker again. I don't think there's anybody in the league playing better than he is."
Against the Nets, Parker scored a game-high 29 points and handed out 11 assists. Over the last 11, Parker is averaging slightly over 25.0 ppg and 9.45 apg.
It's hard to argue with his coach's argument.
"He's beyond All Star," Popovich said of Parker. "I think he should be in any conversation for any award that's given. There's a group of guys, but he should be in that group as one of the guys playing best in the league."
Monday's game against the Bulls is the fourth of nine straight on the road as the rodeo hits San Antonio. The All-Star break will be mixed in, but the Spurs are a league-best 18-10 on the road.
The Bulls come home for a brief stop Monday. They just went 3-3 on a recent road trip and return to the Windy City for the Spurs game before heading to Boston on Wednesday.
Chicago finished its sojourn with a 93-89 victory Friday night in Utah over the Jazz. It was a solid win for the Bulls after getting thrashed by 32 in Denver the night before.
"I am just glad we got the win," said head coach Tom Thibodeau. "That is the thing we needed, we needed to bounce back. We took a punch last night, but we got up tonight and we fought. That is what you have to do. You can't look backwards, you can't look ahead, you have to look at exactly what is in front of you. It's been a long trip. Now we get a chance to gather, get home and correct."
Carlos Boozer was the key to beating his old team. Boozer, who played six seasons with the Jazz before bolting to Chicago as a free agent before the 2010-11 season, had 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.
Boozer led the Bulls in scoring, while Nate Robinson, Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson also netted double figures.
The Bulls have won two in a row against the Spurs and four of their last five. San Antonio's last victory in Chicago came on Jan. 17, 2009.