The Oklahoma City Thunder (19-10) made easy work of the Chicago Bulls (7-24) on Monday night in Oklahoma City, using balanced offense and a second quarter scoring explosion from Paul George to take a 121-96 victory. Russell Westbrook recorded his seventh triple-double of the season (13 pts, 16 reb, 11 ast). George, who scored 16 points in the second, finished with a game-high 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting.
The Thunder will now hit the road and head to Sacramento for a Wednesday night showdown with the Kings. That game tips at 9:00 PM CST and will be televised on NBA TV and Fox Sports Oklahoma.
Russ & PG combined:
The Second Quarter. The Thunder held a 31-22 after the first quarter — using defense to stifle the young Bulls. George then exploded in the second, scoring 16 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting. His outburst led to a 20-point halftime lead and the game was effectively over from that point forward.
Russ. Westbrook didn’t have his best night from a scoring standpoint, but the point guard was heavily involved in about everything that went right for the Thunder tonight. He finished with just 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting — but he tacked on 16 rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals. For those not counting at home, he’s recorded 19 steals over the last four games.
Fast Breaking. The Thunder dominated Chicago in transition, outscoring the Bulls 27-9 on the break. This led to what felt like about 185 dunks for OKC. It was fun.
Freebies. Finally — success from the free throw line. OKC shot 27-of-33 from the stripe, good for 81.8 percent. Perhaps fleeting… but enjoyable nonetheless.
Balanced Scoring: Six Thunder players finished in double-figures, including George (24), Steven Adams (19), Dennis Schroder (18), Jerami Grant (13), Westbrook (13), and Hamidou Diallo (10) — who received a very-much-worth-it technical for hanging on the rim in the fourth quarter.
Extracurricular Activities: Now, for what you really came to see.
Things went haywire midway through the third quarter, when a Kris Dunn shove on Westbrook sparked a bizarre dust-up that resulted in Robin Lopez trying to maul Jerami Grant with a crazzzy look in his eyes:
The end result here was two sets of double-technicals — one for Dunn, Lopez, Grant, and, most curiously, Westbrook. Pretty wild scene — made more wild by the fact that Bulls’ coach Jim Boylen actually put Grant in a headlock at one point:
Hell of a first couple weeks for Boylen, huh? That’s one way to teach your team toughness before they run you out of town.
Things were temporarily calmed down before Lopez was ultimately ejected for something unrelated about a minute later. Adams gave him a pat on his back, Thunder fans waived goodbye, and the entire ordeal seemed to energize an OKC team that continued dismantling the Bulls for the remainder of the contest.
Last Word: The Thunder lost to this Bulls team just 10 days ago, so tonight’s result was encouraging — even if it wasn’t surprising. The Thunder seemed to have a lot of fun, took control early, and dominated basically every aspect throughout. It’s game that should have ended exactly the way it did, which is all you can ask for when playing teams like Chicago. Now on to Sacramento to try and get one against a Kings team that is 2-0 against the Thunder so far this season.