The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Chicago Bulls at home, 121-96. Ten days after falling way short in Chicago, losing to a Bulls team in disarray, OKC exacted a measure of revenge with a 2nd quarter surge that safely put the game away.
Not surprisingly, Paul George led that surge with 16 points in the 2nd quarter on a perfect 6-6 shooting, including 3-3 from 3-point range. He capped off the late 25-7 run with an and-one conversion that pushed the lead to 20. PG finished with a game-high 24 with 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals.
Once again OKC relied on their ability to defend passing lanes by forcing 23 Bulls turnovers on the night. Leading the way was Russell Westbrook, who recorded 5 steals on the night (PG and Steven Adams each had 3). What is interesting about Westbrook, who has now recorded 11 steals in the last 2 games, is that if we saw that stat 3-4 years ago, we would have naturally assumed it was because he was cheating on defense and hunting for big steals while neglecting his own man. While Russ still has a penchant for losing his defensive bearings from time to time, his commitment to staying within the defensive structure is not only helping his team defensively, but it ALSO is allowing him to record his highest steals per game total of his career at 2.4 in his 20 games played, a stat that is tops in the league (PG is 2nd at 2.1 per game).
The only other real thing worth noting in this game is the dust-up that occurred in the 3rd quarter. I don’t even know what the spark was that set things off, but it ended with the giant men with fabulous hair kinda-sorta facing off (but not really).
Lastly, maybe Jim Boylen isn’t the right man for the job in Chicago, but Joe Rogan would be proud of any guy who could put two guys in a headlock at the same time. Sweep the leg, Jimmy!
Man, what a league.
- Steven Adams took some blows during the game. Even an elbow to the face barely even phases him. But even such punishment cannot stop Mr. Adams from copping a feel on Kris Dunn.
Steven Adams messing with people: Volume 385 pic.twitter.com/oLJEbAH7qk— Up The Thunder (@UpTheThunder) December 18, 2018
- Which leads to my other favorite random fun moment. While Adams and George double-teamed Robin Lopez, Brother Lopez gave PG a sharp elbow to the solar plexus. George reacted as any normal human being would, and Adams, instead of expressing concern, smirked at his teammate and said something which kind of looked like, “Hey, welcome to my world, skinny bro.”
- I’m gonna go out on a limb and offer that Adams and Lopez going back and forth in a friendly manner is because they compete against each other in the game Fortnite. I would love to see those guys’ avatars.
- Patrick Patterson, who has had his, um, struggles finishing at the rim, got a dunk in the 4th quarter. And his teammates immediately threw up 4 fingers. That’s right, everyone knew that was the 4th time 2Pat had actually dunked the ball wearing a Thunder jersey. These jokes practically write themselves.
- Really strong showing by the bench, with Dennis Schroder setting the pace with 18 points on only 10 shots. Much better focus.
- Alex Abrines didn’t get a ton of run, but the Thunder set him up for some better looks at the rim, and he responded with 8 points on 3-4 shooting, including 2-3 from three.
- Russell’s 10th assist was a beauty, and Hami’s finish was even better.
and THAT'S how you get your 111th career triple-double! pic.twitter.com/aXEkPmSoog— Oklahoma City Thunder Digest © (@ThunderDigest) December 18, 2018