The 7’2” second-year big man from UCLA showed plenty of upside in place of veteran Al Horford, who rested for the second straight game. Brown finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds, both career highs, including eight offensive boards as well as five blocks.
“It was a good night for him, I thought it showed his potential” Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said after the game. “I think he still has a lot to work on fundamentally, on the defensive end especially, but I thought tonight showed a pretty good indication of what he’s capable of on the glass and in terms of finishing around the basket.”
Brown, who was called up from the G-League during the All-Star break along with rookie Aleksej Pokusevski, made his second straight start and went 9-for-16 in over 29 minutes, fouling out late in the game.
Oklahoma City (17-23) struggled from the start, allowing 42 points in the first quarter. Luguentz Dort missed his second straight game with a toe injury, leaving the Thunder without one of the league’s best defenders. Zach LaVine and the Bulls cashed in.
LaVine scored a game-high 40 points for Chicago (18-20), including 20 in the third quarter. He also scored 16 in the opening quarter, attacking Oklahoma City early without Dort. The All-Star guard went 15-for-20 from the field, including 7-for-12 from the three-point range.
After trailing by 18 at one point in the first half, the Thunder battled back to take a one-point lead just before halftime. However, the Bulls answered and carried a 71-63 lead into the break.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a team-high 21 points for the Thunder, but overall struggled compared to most nights, turning the ball over eight times while going 0-for-1 from three-point range. He attempted just one free throw and dished out just one assist.
Kenrich Williams (14), Ty Jerome (11), and Justin Jackson (10) each scored in double figures off the bench for Oklahoma City. The Thunder was once again without starting forward Darius Bazley, as well as Dort and Horford.
Lauri Markkenen chipped in 22 points for the Bulls while Thaddeus Young scored 17 and grabbed nine rebounds. Chicago picked up its second straight win while Oklahoma City dropped its second since the All-Star break.
The Thunder looks to bounce back Thursday night against the Hawks in Atlanta.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. C.T.