Thunder (48-18, 20-11 road) vs. Bulls (37-29, 21-12 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.2 (6th), Bulls – 101.9 (28th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.5 (5th), Bulls – 100.5 (2nd)
Pace: Thunder – 95.7 (8th), Bulls – 90.4 (29th)
Time to see if the Thunder’s back-to-back plan completely backfires, or at least is salvaged. By sitting Russell Westbrook last night, the Thunder put themselves in a tough position to beat the Mavericks, with the plan to have a full-ish strength squad against the Bulls. The Mavs game blew up in their face, so if they’re to at least make things somewhat right, they really need to bounce back. Here’s what’s most intriguing tonight: Do the Thunder re-revert back to their Westbrook struggles, finding difficulty with flow and rhythm, or do they pick right up where they were after beating the Rockets and Lakers? The Bulls won’t make that easy, either way.
Three Big Things
1. Halfcourt offense. The Bulls guard everyone so well, and make life exceptionally difficult. The Thunder have a tendency to stall and stagnate, which plays directly into the Bulls’ hands.
2. Noah. The Bulls invert their offense to bring Joakim Noah into the high post, and often past the 3-point line as the downscreen and run backcuts. The Thunder aren’t going to have to necessarily concern themselves as much with the 3-point line, but will have to be on point and alert.
3. Bounce. The Thunder have always been a quality bounce back team, and they’re kind of banking on that happening tonight. Russell Westbrook is supposed to aid with that. We’ll see.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Play Better.