Despite the injuries to Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson, despite the improved play of Tony Snell, Joakim Noah, and Nikola Mirotic, despite the rumors of Tom Thibodeau’s imminent demise, there’s only one storyline worth following in this game. Tonight is not about the Bulls. It is about Russell Westbrook, Demi God.
Coming off winning Western Conference Player of the Month and missing only game after having (minor) facial surgery, Westbrook has recorded a triple double in four straight games. Last night, he put up 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists against the hapless 76ers (who nonetheless stayed in the game for a long time thanks to Isaiah Canaan’s shooting). Westbrook is on a Biblical tear right now. In February, he AVERAGED 31.2 points, 10.3 assists, and 9.1 rebounds. In 12 games. Now he gets to go against Aaron Brooks and Kirk Hinrich, who aren’t big enough or fast enough respectively to pose much threat to him. Any realistic chance of winning is wrapped up in making sure guys like Dion Waiters, Anthony Morrow, or DJ Augustin don’t play as well as they have been lately. Also making sure literally anyone not named Nikola Mirotic hits a shot in the fourth quarter.
Key Matchup(s): The entire city of Chicago vs the Exploding Star that is Russell Westbrook.