Tony Parker may have only wound up with 20 points, but his brilliant start blew this game open early. In the first 7 minutes, Parker had 12 points and 3 assists on the frequently-burnt Kirk Hinrich (Hinrich tried to answer back, I guess, as he was aggressive but finished 1-6). The help defense wasn't there either as San Antonio did a good job pulling Noah out of the lane and forcing Boozer to make decisions. Parker then was even posting up DJ Augustin, and an assist to a Manu Ginobili 3 capped off his team's 38 point first quarter. The Bulls meanwhile shot 5/19.
The Spurs stayed hot in the 2nd quarter, and wound up going 7/10 from three in the half. The lead was as high as 32 with back-to-back baskets from Aaron Baynes. The Bulls effort was put into question (I un-mute sometimes if it means hearing Neil and Stacey praise an opponent through gritted teeth) to me it looked more just the Spurs putting on an offensive clinic. Whether it was Baynes, old pal Marco 'Spicy Meatballs' Belinelli, Patty 'Millions' Mills, 'Fat' Boris Diaw, or the Manu Ginobili (who was brilliant all game, leading the Spurs with 22 on 9-11 shooting), the Spurs ran when they could, stretched the floor beautifully, and capitalized. They also kept the Bulls away from their misses, in the first half limiting the Bulls to 13% of their offensive rebounds.
The 3rd quarter was a relatively explosive one for the Bulls offense as they scored 33 points, but they could only shave the deficit to 24. This was a game where it would've been interesting if Taj received his rightful starting spot, as both halves began with Boozer playing poorly on both ends, as he finished with 5 turnovers in 27 minutes, and the margin meaning Noah and Taj rarely played together. Though maybe more Noah+Taj would've slowed the Spurs onslaught, it wouldn't have mattered much though as Taj gave them nothing offensively, finishing with a single point on 0-5 shooting in nearly 23 minutes. He even blatantly boffed one of his patented one-handed hammer dunks.
For his part, Noah was a bright spot, shaking off a couple early turnovers to finish with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists (and neutralizing Tim Duncan) in a relatively-low 31 minutes. Jimmy Butler also had a very nice game with 23 points, including hitting 3 of 5 three-pointers and going 6-6 from the line. It was entertaining seeing his matchup with Kawhi Leonard, who hit 2 3s of his own and finished with 16.
And to Tom Thibodeau's credit, Butler was pulled for much of the final quarter. The 4th quarter lineup of Augustin/Fredette/Snell/Taj/Nazr actually cut the Spurs lead all the way to 8 before the final buzzer, which served little purpose but did make for a weird box score. Augustin wound up with a game-high score of 24 points. Jimmer scored 5 points but was a +17, and you can't argue with those numbers sports fans. 3/5ths of the Spurs starting lineup combined for 5 points, so that was damned weird too.