Thunder Come Back from 22 Point Deficit to Beat Bulls (Oklahoma City) – In their first game since Sunday, the Bulls (4-7) looked to snap their three-game losing streak by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder (5-6). Lauri Markkanen is returning to the lineup for Chicago, playing his first game since 12/29 due to health protocols.
Billy Donovan coached OKC for five seasons (2015-2020), making the playoffs each year. Chicago is hopeful that Donovan will lead them to the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Offense hasn’t been a problem for the Bulls as they rank 5th in the NBA in points per game, but their defense ranks 28th in the amount of points they give up. That will have to improve if they hope to make the playoffs and beat the Thunder tonight.
Bulls’ defense holds Thunder to 40% shooting in 1st half
Chicago made their first four shots of the game to lead 10-4 with 9 minutes left in the 1st. Oklahoma City countered with a 10-2 run to take their first lead of the game at 14-12, with 6.5 minutes left. The Bulls closed out the quarter on an 18-8 run, to regain the lead at 30-22 going into the second quarter.
Markannen became the first double digit scorer of the game (10 points). His layup gave the Bulls a 45-30 lead with 8 minutes left. Coby White later became the top scorer of the game with 12 points. White’s three-pointer gave Chicago their largest lead of the game at 60-41. The Thunder responded with a 9-0 run to make it 60-50 with 1.5 minutes, but the Bulls closed out the half well to lead 68-50.
The Bulls shot 55% from the field in the first half, with 17 of their 25 field goals being assisted. They also had a good defensive showing, holding the Thunder to 40% shooting from the field. Maintaining that defense will be key in the 2nd half, for the Bulls to emerge victorious.
Bulls turn the ball over 9 times in the 3rd
The Bulls jumped out to a 78-56 early lead in the 3rd, but became careless with the ball. They turned the ball over 9 times in the quarter. OKC took advantage by going on a 13-0 run, to reduce the lead to 78-69 with 6 minutes left. Luguentz Dort led the comeback for the Thunder, as he scored 15 points in the quarter. Bulls led 95-87 going into the 4th
Gilgeous-Alexander sends game to OT, Thunder win
Chicago went on a 9-0 run midway through the 4th to lead 112-97 with 6 minutes left, but OKC continued to compete. They reduced the Bulls lead to 118-115 with only 1 minute left in the game. Shai-Gilgeous Alexander had 12 points in the 4th, but none were bigger than his “and-one” that sent the game into OT.
OKC led by four with only one minute left in OT, but Zach Lavine hit his 8th three of the game to cut the lead to one. George Hill then went 1/2 at the line, giving the Thunder a 127-125 lead with five seconds left. OKC won 127-125, as Zach Lavine missed the potential game winning shot.
Ultimately, turnovers led to the Bulls demise. They turned the ball over 24 times, leading to 33 OKC points. Gilgeous-Alexander scored a career high 33 points, to go along with 10 assists and 5 rebounds. Lavine led the Bulls with 35 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
The Thunder (6-6) will play their next game on Sunday at 6pm CT, against the 76ers (9-4)
Chicago (4-8) will look to end their four-game losing streak against the Mavs (6-5) on Sunday at 2pm CT.
Thunder Come Back from 22 Point Deficit to Beat Bulls