The Chicago Bulls bounced back from their embarrassing 130-105 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night when they came away with a 104-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Overall, it was a pretty even matchup, as both teams shot similar percentages and had alike numbers in assists, rebounds and turnovers, but the game certainly didn’t begin that way.
The Bulls got off a slow start, struggling on both ends. Meanwhile, it was completely opposite for the Thunder, who scored nine straight points in their first four possessions.
Jimmy Butler was doing a lot of the work early on for the Bulls, but they eventually found their rhythm. The Bulls went on a 14-4 run to get back into the game. The end of that run featured a Joakim-Noah tip off a missed jumper from E’Twaun Moore that gave the Bulls the 22-21 lead, their first of the game. But it didn’t last long.
The Bulls scored three more points the rest of the quarter — all of which came of free throws — and the Thunder ended the first quarter with the 28-25 lead. But a quick turnaround put the Bulls ahead again once the second quarter came around.
To open the second quarter, the Bulls came out with a 9-2 run that was good enough to take the 34-30 lead. At this point in the game, Rose was still struggling, settling for jumpers that wouldn’t fall. But he starting attacking the basket and it helped give the Bulls a bigger spark.
Rose’s resurgence combined with Butler’s 14 second-quarter points gave the Bulls the 57-50 lead heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, however, the Bulls struggled to score. They had their worst offensive quarter, scoring only 19 total points. It was the only period in which they failed to score at least 20 points, but, ultimately, that didn’t matter in the end.
The Bulls went on a 11-4 run to begin the fourth quarter, and it gave them an 87-77 lead — their biggest one of the game. The double-digit deficit was enough for the Thunder to take a timeout; however, after that, the Thunder made a run of their own.
Enes Kanter’s pair of made free throws started an 11-3 run by the Thunder that tied the game at 90, but it didn’t faze the Bulls. Rather, Rose came to save the game for his Bulls by being responsible for their final 14 points. Rose scored 10 of the Bulls’ last 14 points and assisted on the four other points — which came from Pau Gasol.
Those 10 points came as part of Rose’s season-high 29 points off of 12-for-25 shooting to go along with the five rebounds and seven assists he had in 37 minutes. Butler and Gasol were the only two other Bulls in double figures with 26 and 11 points, respectively.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.