If San Antonio is looking to get back on track before its arduous, annual eight-game Rodeo Road trip, the Spurs have made things decidedly difficult for themselves in the coming week.
They will begin that stretch with Wednesday's dustup at home against the Utah Jazz.
Both the Spurs - a 110-109 loser at Chicago - and the Jazz - who dropped a 126-117 decision at home to shorthanded Houston - will have a bad taste to clear from their collective mouths when they play each other for the first time this season.
San Antonio (20-26) has dropped three straight outings after a season-high-tying three-game win streak that had it moving in the right direction.
The Spurs led by as many as 11 points in the first half before giving back all that and more to the Bulls. DeMar DeRozan could have tied the game but missed the second of two free throws with 0.2 seconds remaining and was unable to get a shot off before time expired.
DeRozan scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while Patty Mills added 25 points off the bench for the Spurs. Jakob Poeltl pitched in 16 points and 13 rebounds while Trey Lyles added 10 points for San Antonio.
The Spurs played without forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who did not make the trip to the Windy City after sustaining the thumb injury Sunday during the team's 110-106 home loss to Toronto. It was the third game Aldridge has missed this season.
"Chicago competed harder for most of the 48 minutes, although we competed for a half," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We are not very consistent. We will get leads and we'll lose them. When things go your way, you're good, you're happy; if they don't, they don't - whatever."
The Spurs finished just 23-for-34 (67.6 percent) from the charity stripe.
San Antonio is about to enter a streak where it plays eight straight games on the road, most against Western Conference playoff teams.
But first up is Wednesday's battle at home against Utah (32-14), which was stunned Monday by a Rockets team that played without James Harden (thigh), Russell Westbrook (rest) and Clint Capela (heel), in the second game of a road back-to-back set at altitude.
Eric Gordon more than made up for the absence of Houston's three stars, scoring 50 points in a scintillating performance.
The Jazz lost for just the third time in their past 22 games.
"Houston created some adversity for us in the game and I don't think we responded to that by collectively raising our level," Utah coach Quin Snyder said afterward. "There were a lot of different things and we have been in situations where those things have brought us together and made us better and we fought that tonight."
Utah fell into an early hole, thanks to poor shooting in the first half, and never recovered.
Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 36 points and Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 30 for the Jazz. Rudy Gobert hit for 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Mike Conley scored 10 points off the bench.
"They came in here and they were the one who threw the first punch and we were playing catch up," Conley said. "We tried to find a way to find something in the second half but it was a tough night."
--Field Level Media