Down five to the Los Angeles Clippers with 90 seconds left on the clock, things weren’t looking for the Chicago Bulls. Even without Kawhi Leonard, the visitors were propelled by Paul George and Montrezl Harrell who scored 27 and 30 points respectively. It seemed like Chicago was going to suffer their fifth loss in their past six games. But things began to pick up when Zach LaVine knocked down a step back three with Harrell all over him. Then a possession later, Denzel Valentine splashed another long range effort to tie up the game. After a George missed jump shot, the Bulls had a chance to nab a victory against a quality team. With around six seconds left, LaVine drove to the basket, bounced off Harrell and flipped up a shot. The ball bounced off the top of the square on the glass and fell in, giving the Bulls the lead. LaVine’s three-point play ended up being the game winner as Chicago walked out with a 109-106 victory. It was a clutch victory and one which was sorely needed for this team after the string of bad losses they’ve endured over the past couple of weeks.
With this, Chicago finally got into the double digit total for wins and now stand at 10-18 overall. They are still in the race for the eighth seed, sitting three games behind the Orlando Magic for the final playoff spot. The Wizards are still on the Bulls heels at 12th and only one game behind. Now Chicago starts a four game road trip after a four game homestead with their first test coming against a rebuilding Western Conference team.
After trading Russell Westbrook this past summer, the Oklahoma City Thunder have entered a new era for their franchise. Although the Westbrook trade could be viewed as one for the future, the benefits for OKC is already paying off this season. They certainly have the point guard position locked up for a while with the addition of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and will be looking for more pieces as time goes on. They still have solid veterans with Steven Adams, Danilo Gallinari and Chris Paul still getting heavy minutes. What they have right now is a young team which can still be competitive on most nights. The Thunder currently sit 8th in the West with a record of 11-14. With spots seven through 12 in the West separated by just two games, there is going to be a lot of movement. The Suns are tied with OKC on record and the Kings in 7th are only one game ahead of both. Then there’s both Minnesota and San Antonio who are only a game back at 10-15.
Oklahoma City recently picked up some clutch wins over the teams around them in the standings, winning three in a row against the T-Wolves, Blazers, and Jazz respectively. But they’ve been in a mini-slump as of late, dropping two in a row against the Kings and Nuggets. Now after their own four game road trip, the Thunder will be back home. This is surely going to be another competitive but tough game for the Bulls.
The Thunder will be out two key players in Hamidou Diallo who is nursing an right elbow injury and Andre Roberson who is still recovering from injuring his left knee he suffered all the way back in January of 2018. Terrance Ferguson is questionable with hip soreness.
As for the Bulls, their injury list is pretty big but there are only a few guys who are going to miss the game. Chicago had nine main rotation players on the injury report but the majority of them are probable. Guys like Tomas Satoransky, Wendell Carter Jr., Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, Ryan Arcidiacono were listed as probable on the report and are expected to play. Daniel Gafford, who missed Saturday’s game against LA, was listed as questionable with a right hamstring injury but is slated to play.
The guys who are listed as out for Chicago are Otto Porter Jr. (foot), and Chandler Hutchison (shoulder) along with the two-way players. You can view the whole injury report here.
Game Time: 7 PM CT
TV: NBC Sports Chicago
Betting Odds: The Thunder opened as five point favorites (via the Action Network) but it’s moved up to 5.5 and some places you can find them as six point favorites.