The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Chicago Bulls on the road, 109-94. The Bulls, who were coming off 3 consecutive wins over playoff opponents (Hornets, Cavaliers, Raptors) provided little resistance to the Thunder on the night, as OKC attacked the middle of Chicago at will on their way to a 57% shooting performance. Fueled by the Stache Bros, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter set the pace with a combined 42 points on 20-25 shooting to go along with 16 rebounds. The smallish Bulls front line could do little with the Thunder big men, and in total OKC scored 60 points in the paint on the night.
As dominant as the Thunder were in Chicago however, it is important to remember that the Bulls’ star Jimmy Butler was nearly a late game scratch due to illness, but decided to play. Perhaps the Bulls would have been better served had he not, as he was guarded by Andre Roberson for most of the night, which meant Butler had nary an open look on his way to missing all 6 of his shots and scoring 1 point in 29 minutes before leaving the game for good.
Jimmy Butler (illness) will not return tonight vs. OKC.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 10, 2017
Aside from a few mini-runs by the Bulls, there isn’t much more to glean from this game for any practical purpose. The Bulls defense was horrid, their best player wasn’t at his best, and OKC utilized all of its advantages to control the game throughout. It isn’t fair really to say that they won a game vs a solid team, but rather performed to a high standard and looked comfortable in getting the easy win.
- Steven Adams is probably the Thunder’s 2nd best offensive player. But you should have known that already. The Bulls, without a big man either as tall or as strong as Adams, had no shot to slow him down, and for a change Russell Westbrook stayed with Adams for most of the game, leading to a plethora of shots at the rim for Funaki.
- Speaking of Russ, he chipped in tonight with a ho-hum 21-14-9 and shot 50% despite missing 6 of his 7 threes.
- Was that a Euro-Russ?* Yes, indeed it was.
Russell Westbrook euro step and scores on Michael Carter Williams. pic.twitter.com/KII62fOMeM— ⓂarcusD2.0 (@_MarcusD2_) January 10, 2017
- For those of you that don’t know, I watch games alone in the dark with the sound off. So it was much to my surprise that during the post-game handshakes it dawned on me that Jerami Grant was playing against his older brother, Jerian tonight. Yes, I write about basketball for a job.
- It’s really too bad Butler wasn’t healthy, as we all would have been given a treat to see Roberson try to slow him down.
- The Thunder scored 60 points in the paint, shot almost 60%, and only went to the free throw line 11 times. That really tells you everything you need to know about the Bulls’ defense.
- I know that I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but really...I need Cameron Payne to show me something. I don’t want to see a skinny guard popping up shots from all over the place. I want to see Payne, point guard, that thing that everyone said that he was coming out of college. In two seasons, I can probably count on two hands the number of true PnR play sets that he has run successfully.
*Euro-Russ is a euro-step done at full speed and, after doing the euro-step, you then pantomime yourself doing the euro-step that you just completed. Bonus points if the pantomime is then followed by your teammates copying the move as well.