Chicago, IL – Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs showed why they own the league's best record on Tuesday with a dismantling of a Chicago Bulls team fresh off one of their signature wins of the season.
Manu Ginobili scored a team-high 22 points as the Spurs raced out to a huge lead and picked up a 104-96 win whose final score skewed the one-sided affair.
Tony Parker donated 20 points and nine assists, Kawhi Leonard chipped in with 16 points and nine rebounds and Patty Mills and Marco Belinelli contributed 10 points apiece off the bench.
San Antonio, which shot 61 percent from the field en route to a 28-point halftime lead, has reeled off seven straight wins and improved to 14-3 since the start of February.
"Best first half we have played in a long time. Hopefully we are not peaking. It's not the right time," Ginobili said.
Chicago took a step back following Sunday's thrilling overtime win over the two-time champion Miami Heat. D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, Jimmy Butler added 23 and Joakim Noah netted 13 with eight rebounds and seven assists.
The Bulls came in tied with Indiana for the league's best scoring defense (92.2 ppg), and the Spurs chewed them up for 38 points in the opening quarter.
Parker outscored Chicago single-handedly, 16-14, and Leonard and Ginobili added 10 and eight points, respectively, as the threesome combined to shoot 13-of-16 (81.3 percent) from the field in the lopsided start.
Chicago missed 10 of its first 12 shots and found itself trailing 38-14 before the second quarter even commenced.
San Antonio's bench picked up right where its starters left off to open the second, as Belinelli drained two 3-pointers, Mills hit another and Aron Baynes added consecutive buckets for a commanding 51-19 cushion.
Thanks to 10 third-quarter points from Ginobili, the Spurs maintained their comfortable advantage the rest of the way as both benches emptied in the fourth, which began with the visitors holding a 90-66 advantage.
"There's nothing to take (from a game) when you get down by 30 and then make a run at the end. We've got to get it figured out," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
The Spurs lost at home to the Bulls, 96-86, on Jan. 29, though Ginobili and Leonard both missed that contest ... The Spurs' last loss came Feb. 21 at Phoenix ... San Antonio is 9-3 in its last 12 trips to Chicago ... San Antonio shot 12-of-21 from 3-point range ... The Bulls made twice as many free throws (24-12).