By JAY COHEN | AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Taking a deeper look at quite possibly the best stretch of his career, DeMar DeRozan described a conversation he had with boxer Floyd Mayweather a few years ago.
DeRozan said Mayweather told him he used the first couple rounds of a fight to learn more about his opponent.
“I'm not (a) knockout puncher. I want to wear you down because I know I can go the length,” DeRozan said, “however long I need to go.”
DeRozan scored 19 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter and the Chicago Bulls beat the San Antonio Spurs 120-109 on Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
It was DeRozan’s seventh consecutive game with at least 30 points, extending his career high. The All-Star is the first player with such a streak for the Bulls since Michael Jordan during the 1996-97 season.
DeRozan leads the NBA with 431 fourth-quarter points.
“It's not only the scoring piece, which is absolutely incredible what he does, the other piece of it is just his basketball IQ, his experience, how savvy he is,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.
Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and 16 rebounds for Chicago, which lost 131-122 at San Antonio on Jan. 28. Coby White made five 3-pointers and finished with 24 points.
The Bulls played without All-Star Zach LaVine, who missed his second straight game due to periodic soreness in his surgically repaired left knee. Donovan said LaVine also will miss Wednesday night’s matchup with Sacramento.
San Antonio had won three of four. Lonnie Walker IV scored 21 points for the Spurs, and All-Star Dejounte Murray had 19 points and 11 assists.
“They're playing really well," said Doug McDermott, who also scored 19 points. "We gave ourselves a chance tonight, but (DeRozan) was just a little too much for us.”
San Antonio closed the third quarter with an 8-2 spurt for an 89-83 lead. Walker had nine points in the period, including a layup with 24.5 seconds left.
But DeRozan opened the fourth with a three-point play, and he poured it on from there. He scored 13 points in the first four minutes of the quarter. His layup with 7:20 left gave Chicago a 102-99 lead.
Backed by chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P!” from the United Center crowd of 21,153, DeRozan made two foul shots and then fed Vucevic for a fast-break layup that made it 114-108 with 1:53 remaining.
“The combination of him being super and us not executing very well was a big contributor to losing the game,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “So that was disappointing.”
DeRozan went 16 for 24 from the field. He is shooting 61% (89 for 146) over his last six games.
“Every shot that I take is a shot that I work on,” he said. “I'm just not shooting a shot just to be shooting it. I just try to lock in every time it's time to score.”
Spurs: Jakob Poeltl and Keldon Johnson each scored 13 points. Poeltl also had nine boards, but the Spurs were outrebounded 53-33. ... G Josh Richardson, G Tomas Satoransky and G/F Romeo Langford were active, but did not play. Richardson, Satoransky and Langford were acquired last week in a pair of trades. “It’s exciting to be able to come in here and help these young guys figure out how to play and how to grow,” Richardson said. “I’ve been through a lot of stuff that they’re going through already, so I feel like I can be just another voice, if anything, to kind of even things out.”
Bulls: F Javonte Green (sore right foot) played after missing Saturday night's 106-101 victory over Oklahoma City. “They did an MRI, imaging, all that stuff, and everything came back clean,” Donovan said.
Spurs: At Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. The teams split the first two games of their season series.
Bulls: Host the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. The teams split the two-game season series last year.
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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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