OKC Thunder take on the wounded Bulls – preview

OKC Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The key matchup.

Every single time a team plays the Bulls, the key matchup is going to be Zach LaVine. The Bulls star is averaging 25.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks per game. LaVine is an above the rim highlight reel but has added other aspects to his game.

LaVine is shooting 44.8 percent from the floor, 38.2 percent from deep and 81.6 percent from the line. He has become the go-to guy in a big way. LaVine is averaging 19.6 field goal attempts per game, which is 7.6 attempts more than his star teammate Lauri Markkanen who is putting up 12.0 per game.

At the start of the season, this matchup would have gone to Terrance Ferguson. However, the best defensive stopper playing on the OKC Thunder roster at the moment is two-way rookie Luguentz Dort.

Dort has been a revelation on defense and he is then turning that defense into offense. His confidence is growing, thanks to the support of his more experienced teammates like Chris Paul. It does not hurt that he is hitting his three’s and damaging the rim with his dunks.

Dort is making his opponent work hard on both ends of the court and this is huge. He is not letting the best offensive player on the opposition rest on defense meaning that they are not as effective on offense. Case in point, Dort led all Thunder scorers at the half against the San Antonio Spurs with 13 points.