Another game, another double-digit loss for the Bulls. This one, though, was at least kind of, sort of entertaining in spurts.
In the end, the Bulls, again, showed that they simply don’t have enough talent to win. They were without Luol Deng who sat with his sore Achilles tendon and Kirk Hinrich who sat with a sore back. Although given how bad Hinrich’s been so far this year, his absence may have actually been a benefit to the Bulls. DJ Augustin had a decent outting with 15 points on 10 shots in 36 minutes of time along with 5 assists. He committed 5 turnovers, which is not great, but it’s much better production than I’d have expected from Hinrich. Oh, and Jimmy Butler got hurt again, which totally stinks. Butler rolled his ankle in the first half and did not return.
The Bulls continued to shoot poorly, converting on just 37.7% of their attempts. This game could have been much worse, but the Bulls had a 39 to 14 advantage in free throws attempted, as they seemed to benefit from just about every close call for much of the game.
Outside of Augustin playing relatively well, the only other bright spot for the Bulls was, unsurprisingly, Joakim Noah. The big man dropped in 23 points on 17 shots, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished 3 assists, and snagged 2 steals and a block in just 29 minutes of action. He was kind of everywhere. It didn’t matter.
The rest of the Bulls were pretty terrible and they just don’t seem to know what they want to accomplish on offense. I’m not sure different offensive sets would work better, but it might be worth it to run even more of the offense through the bigs, as the guard play, aside from Augustin tonight, has just been so very bad.
Credit should go to the Thunder as well, obviously. Kevin Durant is just insanely great. He was 65% from the field tonight and 80% (4-5) from 3 . He scored 32 points, wrangled 9 boards, and added 6 assists, 3 steals, a block with just 1 turnover in 33 minutes of playing time. So yeah, KD did KD stuff. Similarly, the Bulls let Russell Westbrook be Russell Westbrook. The explosive point guard scored 20 points on just 12 shots and dished 10 assists in just 28 minutes. Reggie Jackson continued his strong play on the season dropping in an efficient 18 points to go with 5 assists off the bench.
The Thunder are just blitzing the league right now and the Bulls are a sinking ship with parts falling off- due to injuries- so this result was pretty expected, even if it doesn’t really make it sting less.
I thought Taj was a bright spot also. He had a dominant stretch during (I think) the 3rd quarter where he either scored or got fouled on 4-5 straight possessions. I continue to wonder why the Bulls don’t run things through him in the post more.