Before Sunday's game, Thunder coach Scott Brooks talked about how good Chicago's defense had been to this point of the season.
But against the Bulls, the Thunder turned in a gem of a defensive performance. Brooks called it unquestionably his team's best defensive performance of the year after a 92-78 win over the only team in the NBA with a better record than the Thunder.
“(I) like the way the guys got after the basketball,” Brooks said. “We challenged every pass, we challenged every shot and we rebounded the ball better as the game was going on.”
While it's easy to write off the Thunder's domination to facing a team without its marquee player, Chicago has been one of the best teams in the league even without Derrick Rose in the lineup.
Going into Sunday's game, the Bulls were 14-5 without Rose, who missed his 10th consecutive game with a groin injury. They've beaten Miami, Boston and Orlando without Rose.
They were also shooting slightly better with Rose out of the lineup (46.6 percent) than with him (45.2).
But Sunday, the Thunder held Chicago to a season-worst 33 percent from the floor.
“It's another game that started with our guards,” Kendrick Perkins said. “With Kevin (Durant) and Russell (Westbrook) and Thabo (Sefolosha), their energy from the jump, the way they put pressure on the ball and being in the right spots today was just phenomenal.”
No stretch was bigger for the Thunder than late in the second quarter after Chicago whittled an 11-point OKC lead to just four and had the ball.