OKLAHOMA CITY (Sporting Alert) — The high-flying Oklahoma City Thunder will meet the Chicago Bulls on Sunday in what many are believing to be a NBA finals preview.
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The Thunder (39-12) have won five successive games and have beaten the likes of the Miami Heat, the LA Clippers and LA Lakers in this run.
Come Sunday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena where they are 22-4, Scott Brooks men will be confident of matching of with the heavy-weighted Chicago Bulls (42-11).
All-star guard Russell Westbrook has been in good form recently where he’s scored 32 and 36 points in the last two wins for the Thunder. He’s currently averaging 24.5 points per game in addition to 5.5 assists a game and the combination with Kevin Durant, who is averaging 27.7 points per game – has been impressive so far the Oklahoma team.
However, the Bulls are also in good form and have won six of their past seven matches and are on a two game winning streak – even without the injured Derrick Rose.
Come Sunday coach Tom Thibodeau will have to find a way to keep his winning form without his star point guard and reigning MVP Rose, who is still out because of an injury.
Rip Hamilton on the other hand could be available to play and Thibodeau is expecting a very tough contest against a Thunder side currently playing like champions.
‘They’re tough,” Thibodeau admitted, following the team’s light session. “You’re going to be tested in every way imaginable,” he broke it down, “your transition defense, your catch-and-shoot defense your low-post defense, your rebounding, your offensive execution.
“You have to play 48 minutes against them. We have to come in with the right mind-set.’’
The game will certainly be an exciting one for the neutrals, especially with the playoffs almost arriving and Bulls forward Taj Gibson is looking forward seeing how he and his teammates will match-up against a top and in form team such as the Thunder.
‘‘We’re interested to see how we’ll fare against another top opponent because the playoffs are getting closer,’’ Gibson was quoted as saying. ‘‘It’s going to be like a playoff atmosphere and a playoff game.
“It’ll be great to see how our defense fares and how ready we are for the playoffs.’’
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Chicago Bulls
Kevin Durant – (OKC) – 27.7; Russell Westbrook – (OKC) – 24.5; Derrick Rose – (CHI) – 22.8; James Harden – (OKC) – 16.8
Derrick Rose – (CHI) – 8.0; Russell Westbrook – (OKC) – 5.5; Cj Watson – (CHI) – 3.9; James Harden – (OKC) – 3.8
Joakim Noah – (CHI) – 9.9; Carlos Boozer – (CHI) – 8.3; Kevin Durant – (OKC) – 8.1; Serge Ibaka – (OKC) – 8.0