Up by 24 points, the OKC Thunder allowed the Bulls back in a match requiring another clutch time effort to snag the win. Player grades offer the details.
In the second and final meeting between the OKC Thunder and the Chicago Bulls the teams served up yet another thrilling finish.
For some reason the Bulls who’ve struggled this season to be competitive always are scrappy against the Thunder. In the original meeting this season at Oklahoma City the Bulls took an early lead against OKC and it required a massive comeback effort to steal the victory. The opposite situation occurred on Tuesday night but ended in the same result – the OKC snatching victory.
At game start, Danilo Gallinari was on fire from the perimeter. The Italian sharpshooter connected on five perimeter shots tying a franchise record for 3-pointers made in a quarter. Ironically, Chris Paul also hit five deep balls on the Bulls in the last meeting between these clubs.
Gallo’s efforts helped the Thunder take a 36-28 point lead into the second quarter. It was more of the same in the second as OKC again won the frame (36-27). As the Thunder exited the court at the half their lead had ballooned to 17 points (72-55).
All seemed well in hand. But this is the new era NBA where no lead as ever safe, particularly on the road and especially when a team are known to come out of the break without their best stuff.
And that’s precisely what happened as the Bulls capitalized on the Thunder weakness to dominate the third quarter 38-19 and with 35 seconds remaining in the third quarter took a two-point lead which they carried over into the final frame.
With both teams fighting for the victory, the fourth proved to be a dog fight and came down to the final shot to decide the winner. Fortunately, unlike the third, the fourth quarter and clutch time is when the Thunder excels and have the track record to prove it.
The horn sounded the Thunder grabbed a two-point victory and while it wasn’t the type of win the team will want to hang its hat on – a win is a win.
With that let’s dive into the player grades.