The Bulls were tamed at home by the Thunder
OKC never fails to impress. Coming off a back-to-back win in Philly the day before, the Thunder secured a victory on the floor against a fading Chicago team that was on the road and again in doubt.
Marc Daigneault’s troops took the lead early on, relying particularly on an inspired Jalen Williams (11-21). A strong comeback by the locals at the end of the first quarter, especially thanks to 3-pointers by Derrick Jones Jr. and Kobe White (31-33), and then an 11-3 run by Chicago, had to be resisted. at the beginning of the second act (42-36).
OKC responded with a quick 14-2 run, punctuated by a dunk by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a layup by Luguentz Dortun (54-68). SGA got the cover back by taking down Zach LaVine with a pass through the legs of Jalen Williams for a dunk.
At half-time -14 (58-72), it was believed that the “Bulls” would not recover from such an insult. However, there was a nice response of pride in the third quarter, a remarkable contribution from Patrick Williams as the break returned, then 9-0, with Alex Caruso’s 3-pointer completely revving up the tension. 12 minutes from time (90-91).
Unfortunately for Chicago, this outburst would be futile. OKC was undeterred and continued its devastating work thanks to Darius Bazley’s pass to Aaron Wiggins via Josh Giddey, not forgetting the flawless Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a symbol of this young team’s calmness and confidence. .
An 11-2 run (96-108) by the Thunder with five minutes remaining thus deprived United Central of “money-time”. Jalen and Kenrich Williams’ 3-pointers followed Josh Giddey’s spectacular Nowitzki-like putback to lead OKC to its 20th win of the season (110-124).
WHAT TO REMEMBER
– Two opposing dynamics. The difference between the two teams at the crossroads was obvious. On one end, Chicago gave the impression that every basket was an accomplishment, while on the other, OKC defined strengths and an infectious composure with a set game plan. We feel the weight of the collective in the performance of the Thunder, and the absence of that collective in the poor performance of the Bulls.
– Playoff game. The game was split between points, and OKC rallied more to clinch the win, going on a 14-2 run before halftime to answer Chicago’s 19-3 run between the end of the first and the start of the second. A quarter and 11-2 allowed the Thunder to ease into the end of the game. It remains to be seen if the Windy-City’s three-game losing streak will continue into the upcoming schedule.
✅ SGA-Giddey duet. Class, composure, confidence and talent. Those are the first terms that come to mind when summing up OKC’s back-end play. 20+ points each on 50% or better passing, 6 assists each, four more rebounds for Josh Giddey, four more steals for SGA. A real treat to watch if you can’t stand Chicago!
✅ Jalen Williams. The rookie had one of his best games of the season. Confident from the start, he made remarkable transitions to finish with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists.
⛔️ Zach LaVine. Suffering, frustration, and of course, awkwardness are a completely different lexical field chosen to describe Zach LaVine’s very boring performance. DeMar DeRozan’s absence could have freed him, he froze. His back side did not shine with the quality of his selections, sometimes giving the impression that he had to succeed in order to score. It was quite strange because it looked like he was finally back on track.
Chicago (19-24): The Bulls will host the defending champion this Sunday at 9:30 p.m.
Oklahoma City (20-23): The Thunder meet in Brooklyn this Sunday evening (midnight).