Game 58 Pregame Primer: Thunder (35-22) @ Bulls (20-38)
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7pm @ Chesapeake Energy Arena, ? Fox Sports Oklahoma
Projected starting lineups:
|PG: Chris Paul||PG: Ryan Arcidiacono|
|SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander||SG: Tomas Satoransky|
|SF: Lu Dort||SF: Zach Lavine|
|PF: Danilo Gallinari||PF: Thaddeus Young|
|C: Steven Adams||C: Daniel Gafford|
3 Big Things:
- BACKCOURT BATTLE: Despite Chicago’s record they force a lot of turnovers and play fast with skilled guards of their own. Chicago ranks first in the league in both steals per game (10.1) and points off turnovers (21.1 per game). Oklahoma City, however, ranks first in the league in opponent’s fast break points allowing just over 10 per game. The Bulls took down the Wizards on the road Sunday night ending an 8-game losing streak. Coby White, who turned 20 last week, joined Michael Jordan as the only rookies in franchise history with consecutive 30-point outings. Bulls’ coach Jim Boylen said postgame that White’s recent play could vault him into the starting lineup tonight over Arcidiacono. Containing White as well as Zach Lavine (top-10 in scoring this year) on the break will be the biggest challenge tonight for the Thunder.
- INJURIES: The Bulls will only have 9 players available tonight against the Thunder. They have listed Wendell Carter Jr., Luke Kornet, Otto Porter Jr., Denzel Valentine, Lauri Markkenen, Chandler Hutchison all OUT. OKC has Terrance Ferguson listed as QUESTIONABLE (as of 3pm EST) though Billy Donovan said yesterday he was optimistic Ferguson would play after participating in practice. Roberson and Bazley remain OUT.
- OKC has a chance at history tonight on the road. No Thunder team has ever won nine straight road games. OKC has won four of the past five meetings with the Bulls including that monster 26-point comeback in December. While they force a lot of turnovers the Bulls will also give it away. Only three teams average more turnovers than Chicago an area Chris Paul, SGA and Lu Dort will certainly look to exploit. Tonight is another opportunity to show its strengths in the backcourt to speed the game up against an undermanned Bulls squad.
If you’ve been around DT for a while you might remember Comment of the Night, or, COTN! I started it back in 2014-15 and we are bringing it back. I’ll pick a winning comment from the previous game’s Primer to be featured here. Let’s have some fun with this yea?