Was this the same Chicago Bulls team playing this afternoon against the Oklahoma City Thunder? It sure did not seem like it. After questionable comments by the team’s best player, a three game losing streak (including an embarrassing loss after said comments against the Brooklyn Nets), and the loss of Joakim Noah to a shoulder injury, the Bulls came out against the Thunder and looked like the second best team in the NBA (behind the Golden State Warriors of course).
A 105-96 win was a Chicago Bulls surprise on Christmas day for all Bulls fans. They led wire-to-wire, including an 11-0 run to start the game and big runs in the second half to build the lead and hold on for the win. The toughness they displayed has been severely lacking recently but was pleasing to watch today.
The Bulls had several days of practice and time for communication and it really showed. Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Pau Gasol all scored in double figures and put forth excellent performances.
Rose had 19 points & 4 rebounds and fouled out of the game but did well containing Russell Westbrook, forcing him into 9-23 shooting from the field.
Butler was the Bulls best player again, scoring 23 points with 6 rebounds, 4 assists & 4 steals while guarding Kevin Durant all game and forcing him into 1-6 shooting from three point land.
Gasol and Gibson were solid once again; Pau had an amazing 21 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks in 38 minutes while Gibson added 13 points & 11 rebounds.
This was yet another win on national television for the Bulls, games which they don’t seem to ever lose. If it’s on ESPN or TNT, these guys come out to play. In addition, this is the first time the Bulls have swept the Thunder in a regular season series since they were the Sonics in Seattle. Also the first time they’ve beaten the Thunder in OKC since Vinny Del Negro’s last season as Bulls head coach.
It’s encouraging to watch the Bulls get a win in such a manner but it always makes you wonder, which team will we see tomorrow night against the Dallas Mavericks? Tune in tomorrow night at 8:30 PM EST and follow along on the Clutch Points app.