Thunder 102, Bulls 72
Nuggets from my notebook from Sunday’s win over the Bulls.
- The Thunder was looking out for us all tonight. With an 8:30 tip thanks to an ESPN broadcast, OKC took care of business early and allowed us all to get home and get ready for Monday. Thanks, Thunder.
- Get well soon, Derrick Rose.
- The Thunder’s defense was back, at least for one night. It’s hard to read too much into the Thunder’s performance given Rose is still out while recovering from last year’s knee injury. He’s the engine behind Chicago’s offense. Still, you have to give the Thunder credit for holding the Bulls to 72 points and an eye-popping 29 percent shooting.
- Said Joakim Noah: “It’s very humbling to lose like that.”
- Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau blasted his team after the game, and everything he said seemed like a shot at old friend Nate Robinson, who scored 13 points on 2-for-14 shooting. “You have to do what’s best for the team, not necessarily what’s best for yourself, to get yourself going,” Thibodeau said. “You can’t get stuck in whatever problems you’re having individually. You have to do your job for the team. First.”
- I love Noah’s game, but every time he shot it only helped the Thunder, too.
- Noah and Robinson were a combined 4-for-23. Throw Carlos Boozer into that mix and that percentage goes to 5-for-28. Add Rip Hamilton and that percentage is 7-for-35!
- Chicago’s 29.1 percent shooting set a franchise record in the OKC era for the lowest opponent field goal percentage.
- The Bulls field goal percentage also is an NBA low this season.
- Brooks: “Holding a team to 29 percent shooting says a lot about the commitment we had on that end of the floor. We can play like that in stretches. Obviously that’s hard to do throughout the game. But I thought tonight we were able to sustain that type of energy for 48 minutes.”
- Kevin Durant didn’t have a great night shooting the ball. But he did everything else. He finished with 19 points, a game-high 16 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots. He made just six of 19 shots.
- Brooks on Durant: “That shows the continued growth in his game.”
- Thibodeau on Durant: “It says a lot about him…Durant didn’t have a great shooting night and he missed some shots that he normally makes. But he went to another area. That’s how you help your team win. That’s critical.”
- Durant had a double-double at halftime, the third time this season he’s done that. He had done that only once prior to this season. Growth.
- In the first 5 1/2 minutes, Durant had five rebounds. The Bulls had four.
- Durant was 4-for-17 for just 15 points with five minutes remaining in the third quarter — and the Thunder was ahead by 25.
- Russell Westbrook was challenging Nate Robinson for which point guard could get up the most shots early in the game. But as the game went on, Westbrook started getting to the rim and scoring with ease. And nobody could stop him. Westbrook finished with a game-high 23 points.
- Serge Ibaka scored 17 points with 10 rebounds and three blocked shots. It was his 10th double-double of the season.
- Chicago missed 21 of its first 25 shots. How is that possible?
- Of the Bulls’ first 25 points, 10 were on second chances and another seven came at the foul line. Speaks to how stout the Thunder’s defense was.
- Chicago missed a lot of good looks tonight, raising the classic chicken-or-egg question. Did they miss because they were off, or was it a product of the Thunder’s defense? “They did miss some shots, but I thought we made them miss a lot of shots,” Brooks said. “I’m not going to give all the credit to us, but we did play hard on that end of the floor. We made them miss a lot of shots. But they did have an off shooting night.”
- At one point, the Bulls were shooting 7-for-41 from the field. That’s 17 percent.
- Brooks: “Defensively, that’s probably as good as we played in the last five or six weeks.”
- I couldn’t understand why the Thunder didn’t push the pace in the early stages. After nearly every stop early on, the Thunder walked the ball up the court only to find itself in a much more difficult halfcourt situation. The Bulls are a great defensive team, and part of that is their ability to get back in transition. But the Thunder, it seems, wasn’t even trying to push the tempo.
- Case in point: when the Bulls were shooting 4-for-25, the Thunder had just two fast break points.
- Westbrook got a technical foul for arguing a call.
- Not sure which Westbrook dunk was more impressive, his fast break with 7:22 left in the second quarter or his baseline cut with 5:52 left in the third quarter. On both, the power which he threw them down was just incredible. And if you got back and look at the first one, it seemed like he didn’t even make up his mind to dunk with such force until after taking off. How is that possible?
- Ronnie Brewer was in the house tonight. He did not play but sat on the bench in a suit. He got a warm ovation when introduced midway through the first quarter.
- A quick story on Ronnie Brewer’s pedigree.
- Tibodeau, one of Brewer’s former coaches, on what the Thunder is getting in Brewer: “A smart, tough player. Great teammate. He’ll do whatever you ask him to do. Can guard multiple positions. Can really pass the ball. Can feed the post. Moves extremely well without the ball. He’ll fill any role you ask him to fill.”
- Noah on Brewer: “Ronnie Brewer’s an excellent player, somebody who has a lot of experience in the big game. Somebody who’s a lockdown defender, almost an All-NBA defender. Even offensively, people always talk about his jump shot and stuff, but he’s somebody who makes it easier on a lot of guys. He can really pass the ball. He’s somebody who just affects winning in a lot of different ways. He was huge for us. I just think that he’s a guy who affects winning, and guys like that are always good.”
- DeAndre Liggins checked in with 5:35 left to play. Scotty is playing with my emotions.
- With Liggins inevitably on the verge of falling completely out of the rotation, I’m ready to hop aboard the Jeremy Lamb train. You won’t find me campaigning for consistent minutes for him, but he’s shown in several situations this season, in OKC and Tulsa, that his 3-point shooting is legit. I’m ready to see more.
- Reggie Jackson can’t help himself. He’s got to touch the ball after every bucket he gets neat the basket. Don’t believe me just watch.
- At the end of the third quarter, with the Thunder leading 80-54, fans filed up the aisles in droves. Can’t blame them. I would have done the same.
- The result of this blowout was the emptiest Chesapeake Energy Arena I’ve seen at the end of a game in a long time. Maybe ever.
- Up next. New Orleans on Wednesday.
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