George Hill finished with 19 points and 11 boards off the bench for the Spurs, who have won three in a row and six of seven. Manu Ginobili, in his second game of the season after recovering from offseason left ankle surgery, came off the bench to contribute 15 points.
Ben Gordon had 23 points to pace the Bulls, who fell to 2-4 on their current seven-game road trip. Drew Gooden added 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Derrick Rose and Luol Deng each scored 10. Rose also had six rebounds and six assists in the loss.
In a game that featured 24 lead changes and 13 ties, the clubs were tied 45-45 at halftime. But the Bulls used a nine-point surge about four minutes into the third quarter to pull ahead.
Gooden opened it with a pair of jumpers, and Gordon followed with a three- point and layup with 6:11 remaining for a 65-56 Bulls lead. However, moments later, the Spurs countered with an eight-point run, ending on a Ginobili layup that cut his team's deficit to one. Ginobili then ended the third quarter with four straight points, giving San Antonio a 76-71 advantage.
The Spurs made three free throws to begin the fourth after Chicago's Andres Nocioni was whistled for both a flagrant foul-one and technical. The shots gave San Antonio an eight-point lead, and the home team expanded that advantage thanks to some cold shooting from the Bulls.
Between a Deng basket with 10:15 left and a Gooden jumper with 4:56 on the clock, Chicago missed four shots, had one blocked and lost three other possessions. In the same span, the Spurs scored 10 points, and led 89-73 after an Ime Udoka jumper. The shot came with 5:22 remaining, and San Antonio held on for the win from there.
In a back-and-forth first quarter, Kurt Thomas' late field goal gave San Antonio a 25-24 edge going into the second. Thomas rattled off four consecutive points shortly into the new stanza for a 34-28 Spurs lead, but with just under six minutes remaining, Lindsey Hunter drilled a three to get the Bulls back within three points. After a Duncan basket, Deng and Rose each had a bucket for Chicago, bringing the Bulls within 38-37.
The teams traded baskets the rest of the way, and a Gordon jumper in the final seconds sent the clubs into the intermission tied.