(Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel – Getty Images)
Game 38: Chicago Bulls (19-19) lose to Oklahoma City Thunder (23-16), 109-94
Jan. 9, 2017
United Center – Chicago
Monday morning, Jimmy Butler missed shootaround because he was feeling ill and stayed at home. He was a gametime decision because of this. But come gametime, Butler was in the starting lineup, sacrificing his health to try to help his team win.
It didn’t go well.
The Bulls, like the ill Butler, didn’t have much energy and couldn’t match the Russell Westbrook-led Thunder. Chicago fared fine to begin, trailing 26-20 after the first quarter, but it couldn’t keep up with Oklahoma City and fell further behind in the following quarters. In fact, the Bulls led just once: at the start of the game when they scored the first bucket of the game.
Butler ending up leaving the game in the third quarter and didn’t return.
Player of the Game
Despite not achieving another triple-double, Russell Westbrook was his usual versatile self. In 26 minutes, he posted a double-double of 21 points and 14 assists, just missing a triple-double with nine rebounds. He shot well from the field, going 9-for-18 overall and 2-of-3 at the charity stripe. He did, however, struggle from downtown with 1-for-7 on 3-pointers.
Dwyane Wade, who will sit out Tuesday’s game, played admirably to make up for Butler’s shortcomings. He posted 22 points, six rebounds, four assists and one block in 28 minutes.
Jimmy Butler scored just a point in Monday night’s loss. He failed to make a field goal, going 0-for-6 in 29. He got to the free throw line for a pair of shots, making just one of them.
The Bulls have been effective on offense when Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic have found success, so it’s no surprise that, in the loss, the two combined to score just 10 points. Before losing to the Thunder, the Bulls were on a three-game winning streak, and the two shooters each scored in double figures.
The Bulls, at 84 field goal attempts, got one more shot than the Thunder did. And yet, the Bulls couldn’t score. The Thunder found the bottom of the net 47 times while the Bulls made 34 field goals. Seven of the Thunder’s makes were 3-pointers, the same amount of 3-pointers the Bulls made.
Denzel Valentine remained out with an ankle injury he sustained Jan. 2 in the Bulls’ win over the Charlotte Hornets.
Dwyane Wade ran into Nikola Mirotic in the first quarter, appearing to tweak his neck and briefly left the game.
Wade said his neck is OK. Basically, suffered a stinger when Mirotic ran into him.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 10, 2017
The Bulls will finish up a back-to-back Tuesday night when they face the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.