Bulls (32-23, 17-10 road) vs. Thunder (40-15, 24-4 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.7 (1st), Bulls– 103.4 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.5 (8th), Bulls – 101.3 (4th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.8 (8th), Bulls – 89.2 (27th)
View from the enemy: By The Horns
The Thunder have struggled defensively the last four games. The last four, OKC’s allowed more than 105 points in all of them. So here’s a good remedy: Play the Bulls, a team ranked 24th in offense at 100.4 points per 100.
This game is against a good team, but I also see it as important in sort of kickstarting a strong finishing run. The three-game skid can just be a mid-season lull, but the Thunder have been a little inconsistent over their last 20. With the win against Minnesota, the Thunder need to build on that and start ramping up for the postseason. It’s time to start finding that standard of performance. You don’t want to be up and down too much in March and then leading into April.
Note: No Ronnie Brewer tonight, but he will address the media pregame.
Chicago coming in: The Bulls spanked the Bobcats on Friday.
Three Big Things
1. Glass. The Bulls do a lot of damage on the offensive glass. They’re fourth in the league averaging 12.8 a game, and the Thunder ate 25th in allowing them, at 12.0 a game. So that’s going to be important. The Bulls aren’t great offensively, but they can survive on second chance points.
2. Russ. The Bulls don’t have an answer for Russell Westbrook. Kirk Hinrich is an average defender, but Westbrook physically outmatches anyone Chicago has. Luol Deng is at least built to guard Kevin Durant. There’s no one on the Chicago roster built to handle Westbrook.
3. Transition. The Bulls are difficult to break down in the halfcourt, but turning them over live and getting out on the break will be necessary. The Bulls can grind with the best of them, so anything easy is preferred.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Windier City.