Here comes the second tough challenge of the week for the Chicago Bulls. Although they were able to pick up a much needed moral booster in Charlotte, the Bulls have been in a slump lately ever since the Kirk Hinrich injury occurred. They have lost six of the last ten games and tonight’s matchup doesn’t exactly favor them either — another nationally televised game against yet another top tier team.
The Oklahoma City Thunder don’t exactly come rolling in either, despite boasting the second best record in the Western Conference and fresh off a 127 point outburst against the Timberwolves. After being neck and neck with San Antonio for the top seed for most of the year they’ve fallen off a bit recently but are looking to reclaim their Western Conference throne. The Thunder dealt the Bulls a loss already earlier this season, one in which the Bulls were able to keep the score close until MVP candidate Kevin Durant decided to flip the switch and close the game out.
The Bulls on the other hand hope to build on their success from the Charlotte game and erase the loss to Miami by defeating an elite powerhouse in the Thunder. The Bulls will be hoping to get Hinrich back, although that appears questionable considering how the last few weeks have gone for him. Luol Deng looks to be breaking out of his shooting slump slowly in the last few games but concerns will remain until he gets back to his normal self. He was a big factor, scoring 27 points, in the last meeting with the Thunder and one of the main reasons the Bulls were even able to keep the game close. One can only hope that the Bulls are able to recreate that kind of effort as opposed to the beating they took on national TV a year ago in their last meeting in Oklahoma City.
Side note to keep in mind for this game for Bulls fans is the possible debut of fan favorite and former Bull, Ronnie Brewer, for the Thunder.
Likely Starters:Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Joakim Noah, Kevin Durant, Luol Deng, Nate Robinson, NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder, Richard Hamilton, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka