One of these days I want to find out just what it is Scott Brooks is telling the Thunder at halftime. The Bulls led by as many as 12 in the first half and took a five-point lead into the locker room; twelve minutes later they were down 13 and wondering what the hell happened. It wasn’t a thing of beauty, exactly the Thunder committed twenty turnovers but what mattered was the final, which was Oklahoma City 98, Chicago 85, the Atmospheric Phenomena’s 19th win in 34 tries.
Then again, the Bulls put together some good numbers: they led the battle for the boards, 52-48, including an amazing 25 offensive rebounds, and all five starters landed in double figures. Both Joakim Noah and Luol Deng checked in with double-doubles; Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 19 points. What Chicago didn’t get was a lot of field goals for all those offensive boards: they shot only 35.4 percent, putting up 99 shots, including nine treys, of which only three made.
For once, Kevin Durant got to watch someone else get game-high honors, and that someone else was Russell Westbrook, who dropped in 29 points. Kid Delicious had 25; James Harden’s shot returned from the Twilight Zone (13 points, including three of five faraways). The OKC bench beat the Bulls bench, 25-12.
There follows a nice, leisurely in the sense that it’s spread over eight days, anyway four-game home stand: the Hornets (Wednesday), followed by the Pacers, the Knicks and the Spurs. I would advise not taking any of them lightly.