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Game Day #52: Bulls at Thunder

Chicago Bulls (42-11, 21-6 road) at Oklahoma City Thunder (39-12, 22-4 Home)

 vs. 

Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 12:00 p.m.
TV:
 TNT (5 DirecTV, 8 Cox, 5 AT&T U-Verse, 5 Dish)
Online StreamHere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the EnemyHere.
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Bulls
PG Russell Westbrook C.J. Watson
SG Thabo Sefolosha Ronnie Brewer
SF Kevin Durant Luol Deng
PF Serge Ibaka Carlos Boozer
C Kendrick Perkins Joakim Noah
6th Man James Harden Matt Barnes

Last time: The Bulls split the series with a 99-90 win on December 6th in the United Center. Oklahoma City won the last match up in Oklahoma City on opening day last season 106-95.

This is a big one. The best team in the Eastern Conference versus the best team in the Western Conference.  The Bulls are led by reigning MVP, Derrick Rose. Thunder are led by MVP front runner, Kevin Durant. This has the writings of a great ball game all over it. However, few things that could really snag that from happening. First, Rose is not going to play. Also, Oklahoma City is hot. They’re blowing good teams out of the water.

Chicago is hands down the best team in the East. They’ve beaten the Heat without Rose. Heck, they’ve beaten a lot of teams without Rose. That’s just how good they are. Joakim Noah is a rebounding garbage machine. He just snatches everything up around him. Also, the Bulls are just SOUND on defense.

The Bulls are 8-2 in their last 10 games, including winners of the past two ball games. Chicago is riding a seven game road winning streak.

Oklahoma City is… something else. They’re one of the hottest teams in the league. They’ve won their last five games by an average of 14 points. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook (or as I call him now Hustle Bestbrook) are destroying the league and letting one know Oklahoma City is here to stay.

Keys to the game

Offensive Rebounding
It’s one of the best (Chicago) versus one of the worst (OKC) at offensive rebounding and allowing offensive rebounds. Chicago is second in grabbing the offensive boards, while it’s been a glaring weakness all season. We’re going to see really quickly how much this actually effects the game. Noah and Carlos Boozer might be trouble for the Thunder.

Shooting Efficiency
The Bulls are a really great defensive team.  Bulls are holding teams to just 42% shooting from the floor and just 33% from three-point range.  What’s crazy is that Chicago has better defense on the road than they do at home.  Oklahoma City on the other hand, is the best team shooting the ball while at home. OKC is shooting 50% from the floor in the ‘Peake. Oklahoma City is also a top five three-point shooting team as well.

Russell Westbrook
This kid has been something else lately. His explosion from the Lakers left you speechless. However, with Rose out, he needs to take FULL advantage of that. He needs to attack and get CJ Watson off the floor, in foul trouble, as soon as possible. Honestly, if Westbrook goes off like he did against the Lakers, the Bulls stand no chance.

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