Bulls 99, Thunder 90
Nuggets from my notebook from Monday’s loss at Chicago.
- The story of this one was how Thunder coach Scott Brooks benched Kevin Durant and Jeff Green less than three minutes into the third period. Brooks sat both players for the remainder of the period and re-inserted them at the start of the fourth quarter. Brooks took responsibility for the decision, saying “we weren’t playing well, and I tried to make a change to see if we could manufacture some more energy.” Brooks said he didn’t know if it worked or not. The Bulls finished the quarter plus-1o while Durant and Green sat.
- Durant took the benching in stride. “He’s coaching you up,” said Durant. “You can’t get sensitive. You go out there and try to play as hard as you can the next time you get back into the game. Lesson learned.”
- I liked how Durant responded to the benching. He was up off the bench throughout the rest of the third period, waiving a towel and cheering on his teammates. “I want to be the best teammate I can be,” Durant said. “I think I can learn a lot from what he did. I could be a better teammate. And that’s what I tried to do, spark my guys from the bench.”
- Durant told me after the game that Brooks also benched him at Houston and at Portland last season. I don’t remember either.
- You could easily excuse this one. The Thunder came in on a second night of a back-to-back. OKC was on the road. The Bulls were eager to start finding their rhythm with Carlos Boozer back in the lineup. It was cold outside. But the problem for the Thunder looked to be mental tonight. Players weren’t communicating or rotating. The Thunder got beat on back cuts a countless amount of times. And the Bulls just pounded the Thunder on the boards.
- Boozer is officially a member of the Bulls. His 29 points and 12 rebounds killed the Thunder. OKC had no answer for him.
- Chicago’s passing tonight was something else. The Bulls had 25 assists and saw three players have four assists or more tonight. Nine of the 10 Bulls players who saw action had at least one assist. Taj Gibson was the only player who didn’t have one. Derrick Rose led the way with nine, but Joakim Noah had six and Luol Deng had four. Only one Thunder player had more than two as OKC finished with just 13 assists, three more than its season-low. Brooks said those figures were a product of the Thunder simply not making shots. “We got looks,” Brooks said. “We just did not hit them when the shots needed to be made…I just don’t think we had an offensive rhythm.”
- I’m looking forward to seeing how Green bounces back from this one. After allowing Boozer to have a breakout game while going 1-for-9 at the other end, it won’t get any easier for Green. Kevin Love is up next, and David West is after that.
- The United Center always feels like one of the biggest buildings in the league, and it is. But there was a strange silence in the building throughout much of the first half…right up until something happened. That’s when Bulls fans, almost all at once, erupt. Bulls fans pay extremely close attention to the action.
- Where was Serge Ibaka tonight?
- Nenad Krstic had himself a nice little ball game. He scored a season-high 18 points on eight of 12 shooting to go with six rebounds, one assist and one block. What I liked most was how Krstic started the game with a few of his mid-range specials but then went up strong for two dunks early in the opening period. too many times he settles for layups. Believe it or not, when I saw Krstic finish strong like that I thought it was a good sign of how the Thunder was going to come out in this one.
- One night after having to sit because of matchup issues against Golden State, Nick Collison returned to the rotation, checking in with 3:17 left in the first quarter. He immediately grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw by Omer Asik. Collison had six boards in 25 minutes.
- Thabo Sefolosha’s intensity was incredible tonight. I thought Sefolosha and Russell Westbrook were the two most passionate about trying to do something to stop the bleeding. Obviously nothing worked, though.
- It would be easy to look at James Harden’s 3-for-12 shooting performance and say he had a bad game. I’m going the other way. I thought he was pretty good tonight. A few of his shots were rushed, and I remember one coming at the end of the shot clock.
VIDEOS FROM NBA TV
Buy Tickets View all
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 90847Oklahoma weather: Severe storm updates
- 54347Oklahoma tornadoes: 'It took it all'
- 38051Oklahoma devastated by second round of twisters
- 32459Oklahoma State football: Limiting Wes Lunt's transfer options makes Mike Gundy look bad
- 13823Oklahoma City tornado so large, may not be recognized, officials say
- 12196Several kids pulled out of Oklahoma school rubble alive
- 11468How to help tornado victims
- 11466Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 10241At least 51 die in Oklahoma tornado, official says
- 8728Bounty hunters look for bail jumpers, fugitives on the streets of Oklahoma City
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients
Send me a copy of this email.