|2013-2014 NBA Season|
|December 19th, 2013|
|Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK|
|7:00 PM CST|
|TV: Turner Network Television Only|
|Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM/640 AM), ESPN 1000 AM|
|Injury Report: Kirk Hinrich (Doubtful), Derrick Rose (Out)|
|Previous Matchups: None (Thunder Won Last Season's Series 2-0)|
|D.J. Augustin||PG||Russell Westbrook|
|Jimmy Butler||SG||Thabo Sefolosha|
|Luol Deng||SF||Kevin Durant|
|Carlos Boozer||PF||Serge Ibaka|
|Joakim Noah||C||Kendrick Perkins|
|2013/14 Advanced Stats|
|94.0 (28th)||Pace||99.8 (3rd)|
|95.1 (28th)||ORtg||105.4 (6th)|
|97.7 (5th)||DRtg||97.4 (4th)|
3-10. That's the Bulls record. Their three wins? Detroit, Milwaukee, and Wadeless Miami. If there was ever a team that gave up on their season, this would be it. Despite a roster that basically had the same personnel that took them through a solid playoff run last season, the Bulls simply haven't been able to put it together once Rose was on crutches.
How well the Bulls do basically hinges on their offense. As the advanced stats above can tell you, the Bulls have always been a well-coached defensive team, but they lose a certain amount of impact without Rose creating shots for them on offense. Furthermore, their point guard situation is dreadful, with Indiana castoff D.J. Augustin running things with the starters and likely draft bust Marquis Teague slugging things out with the bench. Kirk Hinrich could provide a boost if he's good to go, but his status is uncertain at this point.
But the strange thing is that the Bulls have been able to avoid the turnover issues, despite how badly their point guards are playing. As with their defense, their offense is complex, involves good passing, and is well-rehearsed. But they just don't have a ton of scoring options. Boozer isn't the player that he used to be, and they're struggling to get anything going beyond the three point line. Put it this way: When Mike Funleavy is your most consistent three point shooter, you're in some serious doo doo.
On the Thunder's end of things, everything is pretty much ho-hum. Russell Westbrook is having some seriously awesome stat lines, posting nearly a triple-double every single game. But he's also had his share of turnover problems, and that could bite the Thunder if they lose some of their team offensive efficiency. Meanwhile, the bench is performing better than ever, and Perry Jones III is still managing to squeeze in minutes at the 11th man. Andre Roberson remains on the active roster as the 12th man, and it looks like he might never head back to Tulsa.
Anyway, the Bulls should put up a good fight for at least a while tonight, but the Thunder should be able to punch through with a good run and cruise after that. The Bulls simply can't keep up with fast-paced offenses, and I don't see how the Thunder are any different than Houston or the Clippers in that regard.
What do you think about tonight's game? Let us know in the comments!