Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Oklahoma City Thunder has won two straight ahead of tonight’s tilt with the Chicago Bulls, and rode a Paul George scoring explosion in the process. PG13 averaged 39.5 points on 58 percent three-point shooting in the wins over the Clippers and Mavericks, and will look to keep it rolling against the 2-9 Bulls.
The Thunder will again be without Steven Adams, as he’ll miss his third consecutive game due to a right calf contusion. Carmelo Anthony is listed as questionable with back soreness and could potentially miss his second straight. Darkari Johnson will again fill in for Adams, with Jerami Grant sliding into the starting lineup should Melo sit once more.
Oklahoma City would move back to .500 (7-7) with a win over a Bulls team that has lost six of its last seven. The Thunder overwhelmed Chicago by 32 points just 18 days ago, and shouldn’t have much issue taking care of business yet again.
Let’s get into the notes.
Update: Carmelo Anthony is active and will return to the starting lineup.
- Steven Adams: Out — Calf
- Carmelo Anthony: Active — Back
- Zach Lavine: Out — ACL
- Cameron Payne: Out — Foot
- Justin Holiday: Out — Personal
- Nikola Mirotic: Out — Facial Fractures
- David Nwaba: Out — Ankle
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Oct. 28: OKC 101, CHI 69 [Box Score]
Deja Vu. The Thunder and Bulls are squaring off for the second and final time this season. OKC won the first game by a final score of 101-69, and crushed Chicago with a 22-8 advantage in the second quarter. The Bulls shot 28 percent from the floor in the contest and the Thunder would be well-served putting them away early yet again. One of those nights you figure the starters should be asleep on the bench early in the fourth quarter.
Bulls Back Court. The Bulls will be without starting point guard Justin Holiday, as he’s away from the team after his wife gave birth to their first child. Kris Dunn will draw the start in his absence, and is averaging 11.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists over his last five games. Jerian Grant (Jerami’s brother) will start alongside Dunn at shooting guard.
Holyfield Returns. Bobby Portis will be with the Bulls this time around — and he’s been phenomenal in his first three games since returning from suspension. He’s recorded two double-doubles in three contests, averaging 19.3 points and 10 rebounds on 48 percent shooting off the bench.
Baby Dirk. Rookie Lauri Markkanen was a bright spot in the first Thunder/Bulls match-up, scoring 15 points on 3/6 shooting from long range. He’s averaging 14.5 points and 7.8 rebounds for Chicago, and can stretch the Thunder defense with the ability to hit from distance. He should get plenty of looks tonight.
Dakari Watch. Dakari Johnson will get another start in the absence of Steven Adams, and will likely have his hands full with Robin Lopez. Johnson has been adequate in every way in his first two starts, contributing 7 PPG on 71 percent shooting.
Three-Point Barrage. The Thunder hit a season-high 15 threes on Sunday versus the Mavericks, and now get a shot at the Bulls — the team allowing the highest three-point percentage to opponents this season (41%). Paul George has made 11/19 from distance over the last two games — and went 4/5 against the Bulls on October 28. He and the Thunder are primed for a big night from distance.