Two days after the Oklahoma City Thunder’s largest comeback in franchise history, the Thunder failed to complete the comeback against the Bulls in Chicago as they lost 114-112.
Steven Adams got off to his hottest start ever for the Thunder as he put up 12 points and grabbed 5 offensive rebounds in the first quarter, and Paul George added 10 points of his own, but the rest of the Thunder could not seem to hit a shot.
The duo of Adams and George shot 10-16 combined, but the rest of the Thunder finished the period 1-13, including 1-8 as a team with the only make coming by George. On top of the poor shooting, OKC allowed Chicago, the league’s statistically worst offensive team, to score at will, and after 12 minutes, the Bulls led 34-28.
The Bulls pushed their lead to double digits just a few minutes into the second quarter, and while Chicago never broke the game wide open, the Thunder had a hard time closing the gap. Chicago kept hitting shots from all over the court, and OKC struggled to take care of the ball. The Bulls finished the first half knocking down 9-18 from three, which helped them to a 70-62 lead over the Thunder at the break.
Roles flipped quickly in the second half as the Thunder got things rolling immediately while the Bulls couldn’t buy a bucket. OKC regained the lead thanks to a 13-2 lead through the first five minutes of the period, and Russell Westbrook picked up yet another triple-double in the third quarter. He finished the period with totals of 16 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists as the Thunder outscored the Bulls 29-17 in the third to take a 91-87 lead into the fourth quarter.
Just as it looked like the Thunder could blow the game wide open, the Bulls fought back to get right back into it. The Bulls went on a 16-2 run at one point as they retook the lead at 107-102 with under 3 minutes to play. OKC was able to get right back into it and exchange leads with Chicago in the final minute, but in the end, the Bulls’ hot hand stayed true and won them the game 114-112.
Thunder Player of the Game
Steven Adams got off to a hot start, and he finished the game strong with 21 points on 9-17 (52.9%) shooting while grabbing 10 rebounds, 9 of them on the offensive end, 2 steals, and a block. Adams played a key role in keeping the Thunder in the game by controlling the paint, and his presence was definitely felt.
3 Quick Thoughts
- Too Little, Too Late: Just two days after the biggest comeback in Thunder franchise history, Oklahoma City found themselves struggling and down against one of the worst teams in the league. The Thunder has the ability to come back from double-digit deficits, especially against ugly teams, but why not try to blow them out from the get go? OKC has to be stronger coming out of the gate so that by the time they get to the third quarter, where they have the largest +/- in the league, there will be no question that they can close out strong.
- Take Care of the Ball: OKC tied a season-high in turnovers with 22, and Russell Westbrook led the way with 10 of them. The Thunder has done a solid job at trending in a positive direction of taking care of the ball so far this season, but not taking care of the ball against bad teams is simply unacceptable. Last time they turned it over 22 times was in a 124-109 win against the Atlanta Hawks a week ago, another bad team, but tonight, OKC was not as fortunate. Take care of the ball a little better, and this is an easy win for the Thunder.
- On to the Next One: This is easily the ugliest loss of the season for the Thunder so far simply because the Bulls are so bad, but it was the first loss of the season to a sub-.500 team for OKC. The Thunder’s record is 13-1 against such teams, which is much better than a season ago when OKC struggled to beat bad teams. The Thunder cannot dwell on the loss for long, however, as they have a tough schedule next week.
The Oklahoma City Thunder is finally headed home after a three-game road trip, and on Monday, the Thunder will host the Utah Jazz. This is the first meeting between the two teams since the Jazz knocked the Thunder out of the first round of the playoffs last season, and the two teams are experiencing different levels of success right now. Utah is just 13-13 on the season, but the matchup will definitely be a tough one. Tip-off is set for 7 PM, and the game will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The game will also be broadcast on the radio on WWLS 98.1 FM.