Game Recap: Thunder 92, Bulls 78

“We were awful offensively, defensively, just disappointing. They really kicked our (butt) in every aspect of the game.”

That’s what Joakim Noah had to say after yesterday’s stinker in Oklahoma City.

Noah’s shooting may have been way off — Jo went 1-for-8 – but his analysis was on the money.

The word “disappointing” pretty much sums this one up.

Added Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau: ”You get what you deserve in this league. They beat us in every facet of the game.”

Well, technically speaking, the Bulls did win the rebounding battle 48-40, including an 18-3 edge on the offensive glass. But I’m just picking nits, and anyway, most of those boards weren’t getting ripped down when it mattered.

So Thibs was absolutely correct.

And I agree with ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell too: This had nothing to do with the continuing absence of Derrick Rose. This was just a good, old-fashioned, complete and utter butt-kicking. The Thunder wanted this one more and played harder. They were more inspired and — between Russell Westbrook (27 points, 5 assists, 4 steals) and Kevin Durant (26 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) — seemed much more talented than the Bulls.

KD and Westbrook combined to outscore the Bulls 21-12 in the third quarter. OKC outscored Chicago 31-12 overall in the third and that, as they say, was that. I may have to go back and check my notes, but I’m reasonably certain that was the Bulls’ worst quarter of the season. Maybe their worst quarter since Vinny Del Negro was coaching the team.

Exactly one Bulls starter finished in double figures. That was Kyle Korver (14 points), who started in place of Ronnie Brewer, who has lost a lot of his offensive mojo recently and was needed to guard OKC’s super sub James Harden. Taj Gibson had a double-double off the bench (10 points, 11 boards) and John Lucas scored 19 in relief (on 20 shots).

That’s the the best the Bulls could muster against the Thunder. It really was that bad.

Luol Deng got lit up by Durant (who was 11-for-16 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point range) while going 4-for-13 and failing to get a rebound, assist, steal or blocked shot. Deng finished with a game-worst plus-minus score of -28.

C.J. Watson? He was 2-for-7 and missed all three of his three-point attempts.

Oh, and poor Omer Asik, he got Mosgov’d by Westbrook.

In all, the Bulls shot a season-low 33 percent from the field and went 8-for-24 from downtown. Of their 91 shot attempts, 47 were chucked up from 16 feet and beyond, due largely to the wall Durant, Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka formed in the paint.

Even when the Bulls did venture near the hoop, disaster ensued. To wit: Chicago converted only 9 of 23 shot attempts at the rim. That’s a “success” rate of 39.2 percent. The Bulls were 1-for-3 from 3-to-9 feet and 2-for-11 from 10-15 feet. The end result was a season-low 20 points in the paint.

Oklahoma City’s defense owned the day.

Said Korver: ”It’s an embarrassing game. You got your butt kicked on ABC on Sunday. But the beauty of the NBA, and especially this season, is you play again tomorrow. So hopefully we see this team again.”

I don’t know, Kyle. After what happened yesterday, I hope the Bulls never have to see the Thunder again.

It’s got to be hard, though, what this squad have been doing. Between the lockout-shortened schedule and all the injuries — Rose has missed 20 games and Rip Hamilton has missed 38 of the team’s 54 games — the Bulls have to play all-out every minute of every game every night to win. Most nights they do just that.

But letdowns are inevitable.

On the bright side, Rip Hamilton seems close to returning and Rose might be back next week.

Hamilton is being held back by Thibs.

Said Thibodeau: “I just have to be convinced. [Hamilton's] raring to go. It’s more me. He thinks he’s ready. But I just want to make sure we’re smart.”

As for Rose, he’s making the call as to when he will return.

Said Rose: “I’m trying to loosen up the scar tissue. It’s going to take me a minute to get my rhythm back. … Missing this amount of games definitely hurts. The only positive I can look at is maybe I’m getting my rest.”

It’ll be nice to see the Bulls at full strength. I’m not sure we have yet this season.

Extras:
Recap, Box Score, Advanced Box ScorePlay-by-Play, Shot Chart, Photos.

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