Oklahoma City Thunder's defense back to form in rout of Bulls
Russell Westbrook scored 23 points, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka both contributed double-doubles and the Oklahoma City Thunder held Chicago to the worst shooting performance in the NBA this season, beating the Bulls 102-72 on Sunday night.
Sometimes the best remedy for a team playing poor defense is to face a team with even a worse offense.
The Thunder's get-well card came in the Chicago Bulls and the end result was a 102-72 feel-good victory Sunday night before another sellout crowd of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
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Chicago entered the game ranked 28th in scoring (92.9); 25th in 3-point percentage (.343) and 23rd in field-goal percentage (43.9 percent), and all three shortcomings were on full display against OKC.
The Bulls shot 44.4 percent in the fourth quarter to finish at 29.1 percent (25 for 86) for the game, which was still bad enough to be the lowest field-goal percentage ever shot against the Thunder.
OKC coach Scott Brooks hasn't hidden his frustration with his team's inconsistent defense the past month or so, during which OKC went 8-7 in its previous 15 games.
Sunday's question became: Was it good defense or a lousy offense that resulted in the horrid shooting percentages?
“Obviously, holding a team to 29-percent shooting says a lot about the commitment we had on that end of the floor,” Brooks said. “You know, I thought they did miss some shots, but I thought we made them miss a lot of shots. I'm not going to give all the credit to us, but we did play hard on the floor. We did make them miss a lot of shots, and they did have an off shooting night.
“Defensively tonight, there were no complaints.”
In building a 26-point deficit through the first three quarters Sunday, the Bulls shot 25.0 percent from the field, 21.4 percent from 3-point range and managed just 54 points.
“I thought we took the wrong shots,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said afterward. “We were quick shooting the ball and we didn't get the ball moving side to side. … Against good teams, you've got to get to the second and third options.”