The NBA is set up with another great night of action throughout March 16. Seven games are up on the board throughout Tuesday night. One of these games will be between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls. These two teams have not been great throughout this season, but I expect a good game in this one. This game will tip off at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
Oklahoma City has started out this season with a record of 17-22, which has them sitting in eleventh place of the Western Conference. The Thunder are two games back from a playoff spot in the West and will look to get closer with a win in this one. Oklahoma City has won three of their last four games and will look to build on that in this one.
The Bulls have put up a record of 17-20 throughout this season, which has them in tenth place of the Eastern Conference. Chicago is two games back from the sixth seed, which they will look to jump closer to in this one. The Bulls are coming off a win in their last game, which ended a two game losing streak. Chicago will look to build off that in this one.
These two teams are on the fringe of the playoff picture for their respective Conferences. I expect both teams to try and come out hot in this one as they look to earn a big win on Tuesday night. If either team can control the pace on the court early, it could be enough to earn a big win. I expect a good matchup between these two as they both need the win.
The Thunder and the Bulls met up twice throughout last season. Oklahoma City hosted the first game on December 16. Zach LaVine dropped 39 points on the night, which was not enough for the win. Chris Paul scored 30 points and 10 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari added 22 points on the night as the Thunder were able to earn a 109-106 win at home.
Chicago hosted the second game of the season series on February 25. Zach LaVine finished with 41 points and Coby White added 35 points off the bench. It still was not enough for the Bulls. Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 21 points and 11 rebounds. Dennis Schroder added 21 points off the bench as the Thunder won 124-122.
The first game of this season’s series was in Oklahoma City on January 15. Zach LaVine finished with 35 points. The Bulls starting lineup combined for 103 points, but it still was not enough. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and 10 assists, while Luguentz Dort added 21 points. The Thunder were able to hold on for a 127-125 win in overtime.
Oklahoma City has won four games in a row against the Bulls. The last three games between these two teams have been decided by three points or less. Chicago was not able to beak through in these games though. The Bulls will look to finish stronger in this one as they look to get a win on Tuesday night. If either team can have a big start in this one, it could give them the win.
Field Goal Shooting
The Thunder have not been great shooting the ball throughout this season. Oklahoma City has been able to make around 45 percent of their shots from the field, which is 23rd in the league. The Thunder have drained 34.5 percent of their shots from deep, which is 27th in the NBA. Oklahoma City is also shooting 74.2 percent from the charity stripe, which is 27th in the league.
Chicago has been pretty strong shooting the ball this season. The Bulls have shot 48.1 percent from the field this season, which is 8th in the NBA. Chicago has also made around 37.8 percent from behind the arc, which is 10th in the league. The Bulls have sunk 80.2 percent of their shots from the free throw line, which is 6th in the NBA.
The Bulls have a clear edge shooting the ball, but Oklahoma City has been slightly better on defense. Chicago has allowed their opponents to make 47.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is 23rd in the league. The Thunder have held opposing teams to a 46.2 percent from the field, which is 12th in the NBA. Oklahoma City will need their defense to step up in this one to slow down Chicago.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been leader for Oklahoma City this season. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 23.5 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists per game. Al Horford has averaged 14.5 points and 7 rebounds per game. Luguentz Dort is averaging 12.5 points per game, while Darius Bazley has averaged 12 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Zach LaVine has helped lead this Bulls team this season. LaVine has averaged 28 points per game. Lauri Markkanen is averaging 19 points, while Coby White has averaged 16 points per game. Thaddeus Young and Wendell Carter Jr. are both averaging 12 points per game this season. Otto Porter Jr. and Patrick Williams are both averaging 10.5 points per game to round out the lineup.
The Thunder have been led by SGA throughout this season, but could be in trouble if Darius Bazley and Luguentz Dort are both out in this one. Chicago is looking pretty healthy in this one and will look to use that to their advantage. If Oklahoma City is without Bazley and Dort, I think that the Bulls could take over in this one.
Chicago has lost four games in a row against the Thunder, but I think they can turn that around with a win in this one. If the Bulls can come out hot on Tuesday night, I think that they can knock off Oklahoma City. Chicago has been better shooting the ball and without some key players on the Thunder’s side, this could lead to a big win for the Bulls.
BetOnline has Chicago listed as a -4 ½ against the spread in this one. This implies that the Bulls have a good chance to win this one. I agree with this line as it is in Chicago and the Bulls are looking better right now. I think that Chicago can come out strong in this one and if the Thunder cannot keep up early, I think this will turn into a Bulls blowout. I am taking Chicago against the spread.