The Oklahoma City Thunder were coming into tonight’s game on a two-game winning streak. OKC was missing Carmelo Anthony in the lineup last game and returned tonight. The last couple of games Paul George has been able to find his stroke and find his teammates. George didn’t have the monster game that he previously had in this one but was able to watch his whole team flourish. Russell Westbrook was able to get things going after a scoreless 1st quarter he followed that up with 17 points in the 2nd quarter. After Westbrook had that monster 2nd quarter the Big 3 were able to find that chemistry that everyone talks about and get others involved. The Bulls were just having a bad night from the field and weren’t able to get much going as they trailed by 15+ points the majority of the game. The crazy thing is the Thunder Big 3 had 34 points at halftime which was the same amount of points the Bulls had as a team.

The Thunder were playing amazing defense and they let the defense convert into the offense. Russell Westbrook had a couple of plays where he jumped into the passing lane and was able to get to the rim with aggression. When Westbrook has those monster dunks it gets the team and the crowd involved and that’s huge when it comes to game flow/momentum. Overall when you have the reigning MVP willing to pass and get everyone involved while he’s flourishing on his own it makes everything easier. Carmelo came back from his sore back and looked like “Hoodie Melo” throughout the game but still was trying to get back into the flow of the offense. Once Carmelo gets back to 100% it will be a sight to see with Russ & PG. The Thunder weren’t able to have their best shooting night and still were able to put the finishing touches on the Bulls pretty early in the 2nd half. Russell Westbrook finished with 21 points and PG & Melo combined for 7-25 from the field for 31 points.

The Thunder bench has grown over the past couple of games and has been able to handle the lead when the starters get out. Jerami Grant has improved his game and has brought more to the game than his explosive dunks. Grant has been able to assert himself on the defensive end with his blocks, charges, and his rebounding he finished with 15 points. The second unit is still trying to find their niche but they have done an amazing job of playing together and looking for the best shot. The addition of Felton and Patterson with the second unit has given OKC some leadership when Abrines and others come in the game. This bench has been talked about but lately, they have proven that with time and practice they can manage a game and keep things together until the Big 3 get back into the game. The Thunder bench scored 31 tonight and this was a great game to see them gel together and find what’s working and what’s not working.

The Chicago Bulls weren’t able to get anything going on both ends of the floor tonight against OKC. Chicago did have Valentine and Markkanen step up tonight but their combined 29 points. Overall the Bulls don’t have a clear-cut person to go to for buckets and they need more guidance on the court. The Bulls lacked a veteran guy that plays a significant role that can actually score/defend when they need a basket before things get really bad.

The Thunder will faceoff against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday in San Antonio and will look to continue this winning streak they’re on right now. They will be matching up against a Spurs team with Kawhi Leonard but Aldridge has been able to put them on his back so this should be a good game. The Thunder will be hoping that Steven Adams can come back next game in SA as they battle in Texas.

 

 

Photo Credit: Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

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