Oklahoma City dispatched Minnesota with ease, but now the road gets tougher. Four of the next six games are against teams that are currently in playoff position. Three of those four are on the road, but tonight the Thunder get started by hosting the Bulls.
Offensive Efficiency at its Finest
The Thunder shot 48 of 83 against the Timberwolves, including 9-14 from three point range. That translates into an effective field goal percentage of .633. They also went 22-22 at the free throw line.
Let those numbers sink in for a second. That is a ridiculous performance even by Oklahoma City’s standards. Minnesota had one if it’s best offensive performances of the year and the game was not close.
Every one of the Thunder starters shot a field goal percentage of .500 or better. Most of the backups did too. And though the Thunder routinely ride great offensive performances from Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka and Martin, it is really tough to beat them on a night when Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison chip in with a combined 8-12 from the floor performance.
A Tougher Test on the Glass
While Oklahoma City turned in a superb game on Friday, it is the latest example of feasting on the weak. Recently, tougher teams have given them fits, as the Thunder are a mere 4-6 in their last 10 games against teams that are currently playoff bound. While the Rose-less Bulls are not the fearsome squad of the last couple of years, Chicago is still a playoff bound team with a 32-23 record.
To say that the Bulls are offensively challenged would be the understatement of the year. They score only 92.9 points per game and have the second worst eFG percentage in the NBA at .468. But other teams have found a way to hang with the Thunder in spite of a lack of offense, usually by getting second chance points. The Grizzlies, Wizards and Timberwolves are not much better than Chicago in terms of offensive efficiency, but all of them beat the Thunder on the offensive glass in getting wins over Oklahoma City.
The Bulls have the third best offensive rebounding percentage in the NBA with a mark of 30.4 percent. Combined with their great defense, that could be their chance to beat the high octane offense of the Thunder.
Oklahoma City is sure to face a tough test from Chicago’s defense, but keeping the Bulls from hauling in a plethora of offensive boards will be just as tough. This is a great chance for the Thunder to build some momentum against good teams, something they have recently struggled to do.