The Thunder are doing all kinds of things that nobody thought they would this season. So how about we add one more thing to the list tonight against the Chicago Bulls. What is this thing you ask? The first season series sweep over an opponent. Alright, fine, its only a 2 game season series, but the Thunder already got the win during an overtime game in Chicago earlier this year, and they have also now won 4 consecutive games at home, and are a superb 11-6 at home during 2009. The Bulls also had the disadvantage of having to play last night against the world champion Boston Celtics before heading to Oklahoma City for tonights game. They beat the Celtics 127-121, and after a game like that, plus having to travel, the Bulls could be a very tired team, walking into a Thunderstorm. Ya, ya, that was cheesy, I know.
So, anyone remember John Salmons? You know the guy who was rumored to be heading to Oklahoma City before the trade deadline? Just in case you forgot, you can check out the story here: "Trade Rumors Swirling Again: John Salmons to OK? Anyway, Salmons had a monster game last night against the Celtics and scored 38 points on 14-20 shooting to go with 3 boards, 1 steal, and 1 block. Despite the lack of other stats, 38 points and a 70% FG Percentage are cause for concern. A week ago, we'd likely have seen Thabo covering Salmons all night long, which would make for a great storyline, but with Durant back in the lineup, he'll likely get the duty of guarding Salmons since Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose will be on the court as well. You can also count on Thabo being heavily motivated considering the Bulls are the team that weren't giving him minutes and ultimately traded him to the Thunder just before the deadline. Pretty interesting story lines here, Salmons the guy rumored to be heading to the Thunder ends up in Chicago, meanwhile the Bulls deal Thabo to OKC, and now they could be squaring off head to head at times tonight on teams opposite of where they would be, had the Salmons deal to OKC actually happened.
As mentioned above, outside of Salmons, their other guards are going to be our focus defensively. Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose are just as capable of going off as Salmons is, and the Thunder guards are going to have their hands full all night long. With Gordon, Rose, and Salmons on the court at the same time, it could become difficult to keep them all contained. Westbrook on Rose will be a fun matchup to watch, and I'd expect Thabo to keep Gordon under control. After that its going to be up to Durant to show that he can play defense just as well as offense. KD Should also have a field day offensively if Salmons is going to be the guy guarding him, which ultimately is probably the reason Sam Presti never pulled the trigger to bring him to OKC.
Brad Miller had a big night off the bench as well for the Bulls last night, scoring 21 points, and grabbing 14 boards. Krstic and Collison did an excellent job on Monday against Duncan, and I fully expect them to give Noah and Miller the same treatment.
The Bulls are also fighting for a playoff spot, and are currently a half game out of the 8th and final spot in the East. So don't expect them to come into the Ford Center and lay an egg. Despite the disadvantage of playing one of the leagues best teams last night, and then traveling for the game tonight, they will come to play. They are well aware of what the Thunder are capable of, having lost earlier this year to Okahoma City in Chicago. It should be another great game at the Ford Center.