CHICAGO • San Antonio Spurs came into the United Center ranked as the National Basketball Association's top defensive team but the Chicago Bulls beat them at their own game on Monday.
Led by a stingy defence that held the Spurs to just 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Bulls ended San Antonio's five-game winning streak with a 92-89 win.
"They're obviously a great team with great firepower," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.
"They are also one of the great defensive teams in the league. It was one of those nights where everyone who stepped on the floor contributed in a big way."
Centre Pau Gasol notched a double-double (18 points and 13 rebounds) to lead five Chicago players in double-figures scoring but it was the Bulls' defence that ultimately won the game.
Gasol blocked a lay-up attempt by forward LaMarcus Aldridge with 1min6sec left and the game tied 89-89, and then split two free throws at the other end of the floor with 51.2 seconds left to put Chicago ahead for good.
After a missed shot by Spurs guard Manu Ginobili with 33.9 seconds left, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler was fouled on a drive.
He hit a pair of free throws to put Chicago up 92-89 with 10.6 seconds to play.
Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard missed a three-pointer with four seconds left, and guard Tony Parker's last-gasp three-point attempt from the corner was partially blocked by Bulls guard Derrick Rose to end the game.