Spurs start lengthy homestand with Bulls

Back in the comfy surroundings of the Alamo City, the San game homestand this evening versus a formidable foe, Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls.

San Antonio posted an astonishing 8-1 mark on its annual Rodeo Road Trip and even had a season-high 11-game winning streak cut short with an embarrassing loss at Portland on Feb. 21. The Spurs rebounded before the All-Star break with a 114-99 triumph at Denver last Thursday, as DeJuan Blair led the way with 28 points and 12 rebounds and Tim Duncan added 18 and nine boards.

"We came off a huge loss the other day so we just wanted to come in and try to hit them first because they play great at home," Blair said about the Nuggets. "We played well. It was fun."

Duncan and Tony Parker did not play in the 137-97 loss at Portland. Parker was back in the lineup against the Nuggets and chipped in 16 points and 12 assists for the Southwest Division-leading Spurs, who will put their 13-1 home mark on the line tonight and have prevailed in three straight as the host. The home ledger matches the best start to any season in Spurs history.

Parker is averaging 24.6 points and 8.5 assists in 10 games this month. Duncan has averages of 16.4 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.00 blocks in February.

The Spurs will also entertain the Bobcats. Nuggets, Knicks, Clippers, Wizards and Magic on the lengthy residency. Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (oblique) and center Tiago Splitter (calf) are still sidelined.

Chicago closed out a 5-1 homestand with last night's 99-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at the United Center. Rose scored a game-high 32 points, including the go-ahead bucket with 19.4 seconds remaining, for the Central Division-leading Bulls, who have won 10 of their last 12 contests.

"We definitely held it together. Other teams I guess would have folded," Rose said. "We played toward the end I think the best defense we played throughout the whole game. We rebounded the ball, made great plays on the ball. ... We gave ourselves a chance."

Rose played in his third straight game since missing five in a row because of a lower back strain and averaging 23.6 ppg in the brief stretch.

Joakim Noah scored 15 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, while Luol Deng finished with 14 points and 11 boards in the win. Carlos Boozer added 14 points and Richard Hamilton returned from a bruised thigh to net five points.

The Bulls will play three straight games on the road against the Spurs, Cavaliers and 76ers, and own a 14-6 mark as the guest.

Chicago and San Antonio split a home-and-home series a season ago, but the Spurs have taken 15 of the past 20 meetings between the teams. The Bulls have dropped 10 of their last 12 visits to the AT&T Center.