Bulls were ready for the fight, but couldn’t put up one in a loss to the Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY – The last time the teams faced each other, it appeared the Bulls had a bit of a breakthrough under their new head coach. At the very least, it was some positivity.
On December 7th, Lauri Markkanen’s game-winning shot with five seconds left gave his team a 114-112 victory over the Thunder, which was the first victory in the Jim Boylen era.
But it didn’t spur on a great run, as the team set a record for worst loss in franchise history the next night, had a near practice mutiny the next day, then lost two straight before beating the Spurs on Saturday.
That afforded a chance for the Bulls’ first back-to-back victories of the season, another shot to bring things to the positive side, and get a rare season sweep against Oklahoma City. But frankly, the Bulls weren’t able to put up might of a fight on the scoreboard, even if they did show toughness in a near fight in the second half.
A quick shoving match between Kris Dunn and Russell Westbrook, which then got Robin Lopez hot at the Thunder, ended up being the most memorable moment of the Bulls’ 121-96 drubbing in Oklahoma City Monday night. It drops the Bulls to 7-24 on the year, preventing them from getting consecutive wins for the first time this season.
The third quarter fracas featured no punches, but emotions got heated for a bit when Dunn and Westbrook got tangled up in front of the Thunder bench. Kris gave Russell a shove, which caused Oklahoma City forward Jerami Grant to approach Dunn about his actions.
Lopez was unhappy with that and got in the face of Grant, and as both got near the bench, Robin and Jerami got tangled up. He continued to jaw at a few Thunder players before being led to the Bulls’ bench.
All four of those players received technical fouls, but with no punches thrown, no players were ejected.
By then, however, the game was already away from the Bulls, who were trailing by 21 points when the shoving broke out. The lead for Oklahoma City was 20 at the half and it stayed there for the final 24 minutes, with Paul George leading the way with 24 points.
Still without Zach LaVine, the Bulls got 16 points out of Markkanen and Bobby Portis but little scoring elsewhere and 23 turnovers took away the team’s fighting chances in this contest before a real fight nearly broke out.