CHICAGO (AP) — Tim Duncan was dressed in street clothes, with Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili joining him on the bench. San Antonio's three biggest stars got up occasionally to cheer on their teammates, but that was the extent of their contribution on Monday.
On this night, the NBA-best Spurs did just fine without them.
Kawhi Leonard had a career-high 26 points and Danny Green scored 18, leading short-handed San Antonio to an impressive 103-89 victory against the Chicago Bulls.
"One would hope that you could play with anybody in your system, but it was a tough challenge for them tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "And I couldn't be more proud of what they did."
Parker, Duncan and Ginobili were all out with injuries, and swingman Stephen Jackson also missed the game due to "personal business," according to the team. With Duncan on the sideline, the Spurs were outrebounded 49-26, including a whopping 17-2 deficit on the offensive glass.
And San Antonio still managed to win, due in large part to 19 Chicago turnovers that the Spurs turned into 29 points.
"The approach is still the same, you know, every game," Green said. "It starts with Pop. He does a great job of preparing us, tells us what we need to do. We listen to him."
Nate Robinson scored 20 points and Richard Hamilton had 16 for the Bulls, who were coming off a 3-3 road trip — their longest of the season. Carlos Boozer added 14 points and All-Star Joakim Noah pulled down 15 rebounds despite a nagging right foot injury.
"When you outrebound somebody like we did and to be in the position we were in, we beat ourselves," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, lamenting all the turnovers. "They are terrific. They are going to make you pay for your mistakes."
San Antonio led by 14 at three different points in the third quarter, but Robinson led the Bulls right back. The streaky point guard converted a twisting reverse layup to trim the Spurs' lead to 73-69 with 56 seconds left in the period.
Chicago pulled within one in the fourth before the Spurs began to pull away. Boris Diaw had a three-point play and Leonard converted a layup in a 7-0 surge that made it 89-78 with 5:55 to go.