Thunder's D back to form in 102-72 rout of Bulls

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2013 at 12:11 am •  Published: February 25, 2013
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The Bulls played without point guards Derrick Rose (knee) and Kirk Hinrich (elbow) and went with the 5-foot-9 Robinson at the point against Westbrook, an All-Star. Their offense never got going.

"We've got enough. We have to do our jobs. We've shown when we do that, we're capable of beating anyone," Thibodeau said. "We have to be mentally tougher, we have to be stronger. When you face a little bit of adversity with whatever, when you're short-handed, you have to dig down and get the job done."

Noah said no matter who's on the court, the execution has to be better.

Chicago spent most of the first half shooting less than 20 percent from the field but stayed in the game by forcing the Thunder into turnovers. Oklahoma City created some cushion with an 8-0 run featuring transition layups by Westbrook and Sefolosha to go up 46-27 with 2 minutes left before halftime.

The Bulls answered back with their highest-scoring stretch of the half, piecing together nine straight points — seven on free throws — to get back within 10 before Sefolosha's three-point play made it 49-36 at halftime.

Oklahoma City then used a 16-4 run highlighted by Westbrook's soaring right-handed slam to go up 68-34 midway through the third quarter.

"I thought the defense was OK in the first half. Our offense hurt us. I thought we had a shot to get back in it at the end of the second quarter. We started off the third quarter with low energy, tough shots, no defense and game over," Thibodeau said.

Each of the Thunder's previous four opponents had made at least 46 percent from the field against a team that prides itself on being among the NBA's best defenses — in addition to being the highest-scoring team. Oklahoma City was able to avoid giving up at least 100 points in a fifth straight game for the first time since January 2011.

"It's a long season and anything can happen," Ibaka said. "The most important (thing) for us is every time when we've lost our defensive mindset, we know that it's not our basketball, so we try to get it back every time."

Notes: Ronnie Brewer, acquired by Oklahoma City in a trade deadline deal with New York on Thursday, attended the game but did not play against his former Bulls teammates. "When I was in Chicago, it was a close-knit group. We thought we were so close to winning a championship," Brewer said. Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he still hasn't figured out how Brewer will fit into the team's rotation. ... Bulls reserve Taj Gibson sprained his left knee in the fourth quarter and did not return. ... Chicago's franchise-worst shooting percentage is 23.4 in a game against Miami in 1999.