Thunder (5-game winning streak)
108.0 Offensive Efficiency (1st)
100.3 Defensive Efficiency (12th)
95.7 Pace (6th)
57.3 True Shooting % (1st)
51.6 Rebound Rate (4th)
Bulls (2-game winning streak)
105.7 Offensive Efficiency (4th)
96.1 Defensive Efficiency (2nd)
91.9 Pace (26th)
53.0 True Shooting % (11th)
53.5 Rebound Rate (1st)
This would be a potential NBA Finals Preview but it looks like Derrick Rose will not be playing so we can’t really call it that. Either way, the two teams with the two best records in the league will be playing in the early game Sunday in one of the best arenas in the league.
The Thunder are playing some of the best basketball they have all season right now having won the last five games most recently beating the Lakers convincingly.
Russell Westbrook has led the way and is shooting the ball extremely well during the stretch. He will likely not be matched up with Rose so expect him to be aggressive challenging the lesser defenders Chicago throws at him.
It’s no secret that the Bulls have one of the best defenses in the league and will make things hard for the Thunder on Sunday. They will surely try and take the ball out of the hands of Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden in the pick-and-roll and make them passers.
The Thunder have shown an ability to accept this challenge lately and thus has been the rise in production from Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Those two will get the opportunities to step up again on Sunday and expect another big game from the duo if Oklahoma City is to win.
The Bulls also are one of the best in the league at hitting the glass. The Thunder have trouble keeping teams off the glass but with no Rose, solid perimeter defense will be key in helping win the rebounding game.
At home the Thunder bench plays much better and is going to have to show up against a formidable second unit from Chicago. Harden will likely enter the game with the score close and even possibly a deficit if the Thunder have one of their typical slow starts so it will be up to the bench to bring the energy and playmaking.
The great matchup that is tomorrow has luster some of its luster without Rose but still will be a game between the two best teams in basketball. The Thunder should get the edge because they are at home and Chicago without their MVP.