The Bulls tipped off a six-game road trip in OKC on Wednesday night, and in true Bulls fashion they absolutely dominated the Thunder 128-100 in a game many probably expected them to lose. Quite predictable, honestly.
The game started ugly, but the Bulls found their groove in the second quarter and never looked back, using a 39-point third quarter to turn an eight-point lead into a blowout. Chicago shot 75 percent in the third quarter as four guys scored at least six points in the frame, led by Jimmy Butler’s 10.
Butler was outstanding in every facet, starting the game strong and keeping it going throughout his 30 minutes (he sat the whole fourth). He finished with an efficient 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting to go along with five assists, four rebounds and three steals.
In addition to these stellar numbers, Butler took the Russell Westbrook assignment and did an admirable job keeping him in check. Westbrook still finished with 28 points, eight assists and five boards, but he had some issues getting going against Butler’s defense early in the game.
The Bulls got solid performances up and down the lineup. Wade missed some shots badly to start, but he did a nice job distributing (seven assists) and then caught fire in the second half to finish with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Robin Lopez stayed hot offensively with 14 points, while Jerian Grant did well with 12/3/3 on 5-of-7 shooting. Taj Gibson rounded out the starting lineup with eight points and eight boards.
Nobody really stood out off the bench, although both Doug McDermott and Cristiano Felicio had good showings with 11 points apiece. Paul Zipser had a few nice plays and Rajon Rondo had six assists, although Rondo’s showing wasn’t particularly pretty thanks to some bad turnovers and ugly shots.
The Bulls wound up shooting an absurd 60.5 percent from the field and 40 percent from three, and they only turned the ball over nine times:
Notice that ridiculous 83.3 percent at the rim and 56 percent from mid-range. The Bulls were simply in the zone in this one, which has happened in a few random games this year (think the Pistons bloodbath).
I do want to point out that watching the Thunder shoot was about as painful as it often is watching the Bulls. Chicago was content letting OKC jack threes, and most of the time they resulted in bricks. The Thunder went 10-of-37 from long range.
The Bulls couldn’t have asked for a better start to this road trip, which looked daunting to start but will almost certainly finish better than expected because they do just enough to keep things interesting.