When it comes to setting a defensive game plan against the Chicago Bulls, it takes neither a rocket scientist nor a championship-winning basketball coach to identify their starting point.

It begins with the guy with No. 1 on his back, the ball in his hands and the MVP trophy on his mantle:Derrick Rose.

"We know who the most important guy to try to stop is," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said before tipoff Wednesday. "We also know we're not going to stop him."

Popovich's prediction proved prophetic in Chicago's hard-earned 96-89 victory at the AT&T Center, especially late with the game on the line.