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Thursday 24th April 2014,
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Game Day #25: vs. Bulls

Chuck Chaney December 19, 2013 1 Comment

OKC Thunder (20-4, 12-0 home) vs Chicago Bulls (9-15, 3-10 away)

ThunderBadgeatBullsBadge

Where: The ‘Peake!
When: 8:00 pm
TV:
 TNT (245 DirecTV, 31 Cox, 108 AT&T U-Verse, 138 Dish)
Online Streamhere.
RadioWWLS Sports Animal 98.1 FM/640AM/97.1 Tulsa
View from the enemyHere.
Line: OKC is a 13-point favorite. The O/U is 192.5
Projected Lineups:

Thunder Bulls
PG:  Russell Westbrook  Marquis Teague
SG:  Thabo Sefolosha  Jimmie Butler
SF:  Kevin Durant  Luol Deng
PF:  Serge Ibaka  Carlos Boozer
C:  Kendrick Perkins  Joakim Noah

Last Time: Oklahoma City and Chicago haven’t met this season. However, last season it was Oklahoma City who swept the two game series with the Bulls. Thunder won by an average of 18 points per game.

This is pretty much one of the biggest regular season games, I think. Oklahoma City has the best record in the NBA as they host the Chicago Bulls tonight. On deck for the Thunder is a franchise record wanting to be knocked down. In the 1993-94 season, the Seattle Sonics won their first 12 games of the season before losing to the Phoenix Suns 87-86. Seattle would then go on to finish 37-4 at home that season.

In one of their biggest wins of the season, Oklahoma City (20-4) went to Denver and really controlled the entire game against the Nuggets. Kevin Durant was once again very special and Russell Westbrook rivaled a quadruple-double and Oklahoma City won 105-93, led by as many as 18 in the contest. With that win, combined with an Indiana and Portland loss, the Thunder now have the best record in the NBA.

For the Chicago Bulls (9-15), the season hasn’t been what they had expected. They were expected to battle the Miami Heat for East supremacy. However, if the playoffs were to start today, they would miss out on all the fun. There is no Derrick Rose. There is most likely no hope at making the Eastern Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals. Chicago is in for it. Currently, Chicago is half game out of the final playoff spot with plenty of games to go, but they are just 2-8 in their last 10 games. Not to mention that abysmal 3-10 record on the road, 25th worst road record. In their last game, they lost tot he Houston Rockets 109-94. Their defense just isn’t what it used to be, and they have absolutely no bench.

Oklahoma City is completely healthy, everyone should be available.

Other than Rose’s knee out for the season, Chicago will be without another point guard, Kirk Hinrich. He’s missed three straight games with a back injury. He’s expected to be back tonight. Would help Chicago more if he didn’t play.

Oklahoma City trails the Chicago Bulls in the overall series match up 69-66. However, Oklahoma City has done pretty well since moving from Seattle against the Bulls. The Thunder own the 6-3 series advantage, including winning four out of the last five. That includes last season’s sweep. Oklahoma City has won three in a row at the ‘Peake and have an overall 3-2 record there. The teams met in the playoffs once in the 1996 NBA Finals.

Keys to the Game

Bench production
Chicago still has a solid starting line up. They’re one player of away from having an elite starting line up. However, their bench is really bad. They’re ranked 25th in bench scoring and that’s going to be the difference tonight. If Oklahoma City’s bench can come out and be really effective, could be a Thunder blow out tonight.

Fast Break
Oklahoma City is one of the better teams in the association fast break situations. They get out and run and can score well when doing so. Chicago on the other hand, is one of the better teams in getting into defensive transition. This chess match could be key into tonight’s game. Oklahoma city needs to find ways to score quickly.

Score at the rim
While Oklahoma City is one of the best at rim defense, so are the Bulls. Chicago allows just 51.8 percent shooting within eight feet. That’s huge. Oklahoma City feeds off scoring close to the basket and will be very big if the Bulls can some how slow down Oklahoma City tonight.

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief. Member of the Professional Basketball Writer's Association. Lover of Advanced Stats. Russell Westbrook apologist.