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Thunder vs Bulls preview: will the OKC defense show up in Chicago?

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NBA: Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder finish the 2nd game of their back-to-back by traveling to Chicago (not before apparently colliding with one of the great eagles of the Rohirrim) to get back on the winning side of things. The Thunder defense, heavily touted heading into this season, has given up 115 and 119 points to the Timberwolves (the new home of former Bull Jimmy Butler) and has looked completely out of sorts in defending any type of shot.

  • Venue: United Center
  • Date: 10/28/17
  • Time: 8PM EST

What to watch?

  • The Vanishing Robes - One of the big question marks in the Thunder’s defense is Andre Roberson, who barely cracked the 10 minute barrier last night in a game where the perimeter was desperate to get a stop down the stretch. Robes, arguably one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, is experiencing a noticeable lack of confidence on the offensive side of things, and it is making him unplayable down the stretch. Look for the Thunder to find some easy scores for him early to keep his head in the game.
  • Rebounding - OKC has been one of the best rebounding teams for years, but now sits close to the bottom. We’re rarely seeing the ‘sweep’ technique that brought Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant so many defensive rebounds over the years, as Paul George and Carmelo Anthony are likely still getting used to the Thunder’s rebounding strategy. Never the less, they gave up 4 offensive rebounds in the final 5 minutes of their loss to the Wolves, so this shortcoming is having a material impact on the team’s chances of winning.
  • Head coaching - Billy Donovan rolled out some, shall we say, questionable lineups at the end of the last game, and it resulted in the team struggling to get stops, rebounds, or points. A tweak might be appropriate.
  • 3-point shooting - The team has yet to shoot at least 40% from 3-point range this season, even as they have highly touted ‘upgrades’ on the perimeter.

The Bulls are a team having a yearly crisis of some sort, although they are coming off their first win of the season. Yet Fred Hoiberg, Donovan’s college coach counterpart (they were both hired from college ranks during the same summer) is having even more struggles. Let’s hope OKC continues to exploit those.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Thunder
    (55 votes)
  • 9%
    Bulls
    (6 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now