The Oklahoma City Thunder hit the road tonight to take on the Chicago Bulls at 8 p.m. EST. The game will be on TNT.
OKC hasn’t gotten off to the greatest start splitting their first four games but got back on track vs. the Toronto Raptors two nights ago with the win at home.
The Bulls are without Derrick Rose and will be for awhile but still have one of the best defenses in the league and are second in defensive efficiency so far this year behind only New Orleans. They will make things difficult for the Thunder especially in the pick-and-roll which is an area where the Thunder have not been performing up to their usual prowess this season.
Kevin Durant is doing more than just scoring so far this year only averaging 20.8 points per game but also 12.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
Russell Westbrook has had two good games and two bad ones so far. He’s averaging 20.8 points per game as well to go with 7.0 assists.
Kevin Martin rounds out the Thunder’s new Big 3 as he has scored at least 15 points in each game this season and is averaging 19.3 points while shooting 61.9 percent from beyond the arc.
The Bulls are led by their defensive anchor Joakim Noah who also is leading the team in scoring at 16.0 points per game.
While Rose’s absence hurts Chicago’s backcourt, their frontline consisting of Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng is still one of the best in the league. Nate Robinson has provided them with some scoring off the bench averaging 12.3 a night and shooting over 50 percent from the field as well.
The Thunder ran the Bulls out of the gym last year when they played each other while Rose was out. But the Thunder were rolling at that point in the season and right now, it’s Chicago who has been playing the better basketball.
This game will be tough for the Thunder just like how San Antonio was tough for them in their season opener. We won’t see the same open looks they got vs. Toronto and the Thunder will be tested to make smart decisions and be patient to get the best looks.
The litmus test for every Thunder game right now always seems to be Westbrook. If he can play well and hit his midrange jumper, that bodes well for the Thunder. Otherwise, Chicago should have a very good chance to win this one.