All game long the Bulls were in this one. A game that without Derrick Rose many thought would be a walk in the park for the Western Conference champs. The largest lead of the night was 6 for both teams. A sloppy game (combined 43 turnovers) gave the Bulls a slight advantage throughout. But when it came to the final 3 minutes of the game, every Bulls fan nightmare and Derrick Rose’s for that matter came true. For the Thunder, it was all business as usual for Kevin Durant in winning time. With 35 seconds left Durant answered a Noah dunk, icing the game with a step back “Hold my Dirk!” Nowitzki shot off balanced and drained it. He ended the game with 24. But the Bulls key players played their hearts out but came up just short, something I hate to say it but could become a theme against the league’s top teams. Lu lead the way with 27 while Jo did everything with nine points, thirteen rebounds and team high 6 assists. Rip added 20 points as well.
This was a good benchmark game for the Bulls. How would they would fare against a legit championship level team without Derrick Rose? Lesson of the night is that the Bulls can stay with anybody when they out hustle, out rebound and out defend their opponent. Every game is going to be a grind. They have to win the ones they are supposed to win and compete against the top-level teams to their fullest potential without Rose. Jimmy Butler stepped up tonight off the bench adding 6 points 3 assists and rebounds while cooling down Kevin Martin who ended with 15. Look for his role to increase more and more throughout the season. Overall I am proud that the Bulls didn’t lay down because they were playing a star-studded team without their own. Thibs has this team believing that defense, rebounding and hustle will get them victories and if the Bulls continue to keep playing like this night in and night out, we have a competitive team against top-notch teams…that is till there are 3 minutes left in the game. This one will hurt but Bulls have to move on.
Next up is Home game against Minnesota.
Goat Prediction: Bulls 93 Timberwolves 86