Chicago Bulls' late collapse against Spurs spoils Young's milestone

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8), drives to the basket against San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White (4), left, and San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. The Spurs won 106-99.

    Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8), drives to the basket against San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White (4), left, and San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. The Spurs won 106-99.

 
 
Updated 3/17/2021 10:27 PM

This should have been a night to celebrate Bulls ironman Thad Young, who logged his 1000th NBA game Wednesday.

But playing the second half of back-to-back games, the Bulls built a 23-point lead against the San Antonio Spurs then collapsed in the fourth quarter and suffered a disappointing 106-99 loss at the United Center.

 

The Spurs, playing without top scorer DeMar DeRozan due to a family issue, used a 17-0 run to pull within 1 point with nine minutes left, then kept rolling. They eventually built a 98-89 advantage with 2:44 left and the Bulls couldn't recover.

Asked how he felt about the result, Zach LaVine said, "Ticked off. I don't know how anybody else feels. I know how I feel. It was upsetting. You feel the momentum shift in the game and sometimes you can't do a lot about it.

"I think I've got to take better responsibility myself as a leader of the team and try to get guys together and try to organize it. I think I could have been better tonight. It just stinks that we were in that position when we were playing such a good game and we let it all go to waste."

While outscoring the Bulls 39-19 in the fourth quarter, San Antonio hit 15 of 20 shots from the field and 4 of 5 from 3-point range. The Spurs had four guys score at least 8 points in the fourth quarter, led by veteran guard Patty Mills with 10. The Spurs also dominated the free-throw attempts 30-9.

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LaVine led the Bulls with 29 points, followed by Young with 16. One bright spot was rookie Patrick Williams collecting a career-high 14 rebounds to go with 10 points.

Everyone seemed to agree the Bulls didn't deal well when San Antonio turned up the pressure in the second half. By the time they got the ball into the frontcourt, the shot clock would wind down and they couldn't generate as many good looks.

"It's certainly not Zach's fault, I don't mean to say that at all in that way, but we got caught watching him and we become very easy to guard that way," coach Billy Donovan said. "If they're playing Zach with a big and a guard and they're staying home with everybody else, it makes it a little bit more challenging."

This could have been the Bulls' third-straight win, which made it even more disappointing. They're next game is Friday at Denver.

According to the Bulls, Young is the 137th player in NBA history to play in 1,000 games. Bulls radio statistician Jeff Mangurten reported that Young is the seventh player to record his 1,000th game in a Bulls uniform, joining Chet Walker, George Gervin, P.J. Brown, Kurt Thomas, Nazr Mohammed and Pau Gasol.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I guess it does say a lot about me, always being there for my teammates, always showing the durability and holding myself accountable and making myself available for every game," Young said. "I've only missed a few games in my career. I just want to keep that durability, that accountability and that availability. I think that's the biggest thing about me."

If anyone's wondering, Michael Jordan played his 1000th game with the Wizards and Scottie Pippen with the Blazers.

No one has played 1,000 games entirely in a Bulls uniform. Jordan with 930, Pippen with 856 and Kirk Hinrich 748 are the top three.

The most games from someone who played only for the Bulls is Tom Boerwinkle's 635.

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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