Oklahoma City Thunder (22-16, 8-10 away) vs. Chicago Bulls (19-18, 12-7 home)
Monday, Jan. 9 :: 7:00 p.m. CST :: United Center (20,500)
TV: FS Oklahoma (DirectTV 676-5, Cox 37, HD 722, Tulsa Cox 27, U-Verse 751/1751 HD)
Online Stream: here.
Radio: WWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemy: Here.
Line: Oklahoma City is a 1½-point underdog. O/U is 207½
Notes: Thunder: here | Bulls: here
SETTING THE SCENE
- Oklahoma ended a three-game losing skid on Saturday night, they’ll look to continue their winning ways against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
- Another ho-hum triple-double for your MVP front-runner, Russell Westbrook on Saturday night.
- Jimmy Butler hit a last second shot to knock out the Raptors on Friday night.
- Chicago has won three of the last four against Oklahoma City.
FOLLOWING THE ACTION
- You can catch the radio on Oklahoma City’s WWLS, 98.1 FM. Matt Pinto will be your play-by-play voice. If you’re in Tulsa, catch it on 1450 AM.
- Brian Davis and Michael Cage call the game on the Thunder’s flagship station, Fox Sports Oklahoma. You can watch the game there, catch it on NBA League Pass, or use the Fox Sports App (If you’re in Oklahoma)
THAT’S A BUNCH OF BULL
- According to the Chicago Bulls Encyclopedia, team owner Richard Klein was brainstorming nicknames for his new franchise in 1966 and wanted a name that portrayed Chicago’s status as the meat capital of the world.
- Klein was considering Matadors and Toreadors when his young son exclaimed, “Dad, that’s a bunch of bull!”
- The rest is somewhat dubious history.
SCOUTING THE BULLS
- The Chicago Bulls are 19-18 on the season, eighth in the eastern Conference.
- In their last 10 games, the Bulls are 5-5.
- Chicago has beat the Thunder three of their last four games.
- The Thunder is 9-6 all-time vs. Chicago all-time.
- Chicago swept the season series with the Thunder last season.
- Denzel Valentine (ankle) is a game-time decision.
- Jimmy Butler (illness) is a game-time decision.
- The Thunder’s largest margin of victory over Chicago came on Feb. 24, 2013, where Oklahoma City prevailed by a score of 102-72 (30-point margin of victory).
- Meanwhile, the Thunder’s largest margin of defeat (10 points) vs. the Bulls occurred during an 86-96 loss on Jan. 27, 2010.
RUSSELL WESTBROOK TRIP-DUBS
- Russell Westbrook has 54 career triple-doubles, that’s best for sixth all-time.
- 16 of the 54 are against Houston, Orlando, Washington, and Philadelphia. He has four against each team.
- Russell Westbrook seven triple-doubles in a row this season is the most since 1989 when Jordan had seven in a row and 10 in 11 games.
- Oklahoma City is relatively healthy.
50 IS NIFTY
- On March 24, the Thunder claimed a 22-point home victory over the Jazz and in the process, OKC recorded the team’s 50th win of the season.
- Oklahoma City has now finished with a winning percentage of .610 (equivalent to 50 wins) six times dating back to the 2009-10 season.
- Only the San Antonio Spurs (seven seasons with .610 winning percentage), have reached that benchmark more during this period.
STILL GOOD ODDS
- According to Sportsbook, the Oklahoma City Thunder have the eighth best odds to win the Larry O’Brien trophy.
- They have the fifth best odds to win the Western Conference behind, the Clippers, Spurs, Rockets, and the Warriors.
- Oklahoma City hosts Memphis on Wednesday night.
- It’s going to be an ESPN affair for those not in Oklahoma.
- Memphis thumped Oklahoma City 114-80 in their first meeting.
- Russell Westbrook was ejected in the third quarter.
- The Grizzlies are 24-16 on the season, fifth in the Western Conference.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Defend the three
Chicago is the worst three-point shooting team in the association. Oklahoma City cannot let the Bulls get hot. Chicago is shooting 33 percent in wins and only 28 percent in losses from deep. The Thunder have to keep Chicago more around the 28 percent mark.
Get to the free throw line
Oklahoma City needs free shots in this road contest to go down for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is taking 27 attempts in wins and Chicago is only allowing 17 attempts in their victories. If you can get to the free throw line, this could be something big tonight.
Hey Bench, show up
If the bench shows up, Oklahoma City runs away with this game. However, they’re non-existent at times, especially defensively. They have to find a way to defend, the Thunder are going to find a victory finally. We’ll see how that’ll work out before too long.