In a possible NBA Finals preview, the Oklahoma City Thunder led wire-to-wire against the team with the best record in the NBA, Chicago Bulls 92-78. The Thunder led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who combined for 53 points in a game where Oklahoma City led by as much as 30 in the fourth quater. Oklahoma City improves to 40-12 on the season and 23-4 at home. The Bulls dropped to 42-12 and 21-7 on the road.
The Thunder came out on a hot start with Durant and Westbrook scoring the first 12 points against the Bulls. Chicago made a little run cutting it to 10-8 with 7:41 left in the first quarter. That was the closest they would ever be again in this game. Oklahoma City would go on a 8-2 run over the next 2:30, making it 18-10. Harden would hit a big three at the end of the first quarter, pushing it to 27-20.
Oklahoma City and Chicago played a very low, slow second quarter. A lot attributed to the defenses. OKC outscored the Bulls 22-19 and they extended the lead to ten points at 49-39 at halftime.
The Third quarter, the Thunder blew the doors off the Chesapeake Energy Arena in the third quarter. Just 2 1/2 minutes into the third quarter, the Bulls had to call a time out. Oklahoma City had started out the second half on a 8-2 run. It got worse for the Bulls. Oklahoma City with 5:52 to go in the quarter had outscored the bulls 20-5. The Thunder held the Bulls to just 12 points in the quarter.
With 8:34 to go in the ball game, James Harden made a driving layup, pushing the score to 86-56. It was the first time the game’s lead had reached 30 points.
Post Game Grades
Offensive Rebounding: A
This didn’t matter all. Bulls grabbed 18 boards while Oklahoma City didn’t even grab 5. Bulls grabbed 17 extra chance points off the rebounds. However, 12 of the offensive rebounds were in the fourth quarter during mop up time. Honestly, this game would have ended with a bigger difference.
Shooting Efficiency: A+
The Thunder shot great from the floor all around. Over 40% from three-point range. 49% from the floor. They did this while holding the Bulls to shooting 33% from the floor and from three-point range.
Russell Westbrook: A+
Westbrook’s stat line: 5 assists, 27 points, 0 turnovers, 4 steals. Just blown away by how well this guy has been playing. He started the game off by hitting the first shot.
- I don’t think the Bulls stood a chance, even before the game. The electricity in the building. The way the players were during warm-ups. It was just something that was in the air this afternoon. It was proven true by a massacre at the ‘Peake
- MVP front runner, Durant, just was something else. That dunk in the third quarter just really brought the house down. Not a person was sitting around.Might as well say they were jumping around.
- Durant was just fantastic tonight. He was 11-16 for 26 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and a game high of +33. Hands down the MVP winner in my book.
- Since acquiring Derek Fisher, Westbrook is averaging Over this six game winning streak, he’s averaged 28.7 points on 50.3 percent shooting. I’m not saying it’s a reason, but after six straight games… You have to start thinking it has to do something with it.
- Harden struggled at times during this game. I don’t think it was really him as more it was the defense of the Bulls. Bulls did a great job really messing up the screen and roll, and trapping Harden. Doesn’t happen very often. If they were to meet in the NBA Finals, would be very curious on how Brooks would counter the way Chicago was covering Harden.
- That third quarter was something else. OKC shot 57% in that quarter, including hitting their first five shots of the half. Holding the Bulls to 12 points was the lowest since February 2010 against Dallas, when OKC held them to just 11 points.
- The defense was just great. Holding the bulls to just 33% shooting from the floor. Scariest part is that the Bulls were shooting 38% at halftime. The defense turned it up, and really blocked out. They had limited the Bulls to just 6 offensive rebounds through three quarters. It was the worst shooting performance by Chicago this season.
- Oklahoma City has the best transition in the NBA. A lot of people said Miami, or the Clippers… or… Yeah.. it’s Oklahoma City. It’s so beautiful when Oklahoma City gets in transition. There are so many weapons.
- I love the fact that no starters (for either team) played in the fourth quarter. While the Bulls used their scrubs to make a run, the Thunder starters did not play more than 32 minutes
- Is Derrick Rose really 28 point difference? If he’s not, but is he really a 14 points difference? I don’t think so. Not against the Thunder. Maybe against a lot of teams.
- Is Oklahoma City really on a 6 game winning streak by an average of 14 points during one of the toughest stretches of the season? Speechless.
- With the win, Oklahoma City has clinched a playoff berth. They’re just 2 wins away from winning their second straight division title.
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