In a neutral-site preseason game, the Chicago Bulls took on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Intrust Bank Arena. With the heroics of Derrick Rose and Luol Deng, the Bulls were able to leave Wichita, Kan. with a 104-95 win.
While Jimmy Butler started the game after returning from a knee bruise, Kirk Hinrich (concussion) and Joakim Noah (groin) both sat out again. Nazr Mohammed took Noah’s place in the lineup.
The game started off fast-paced with both teams trying to get out into the open court. Each team matched the other, scoring-wise, for about half of the quarter. However, Chicago pulled away by taking advantage of their free throws to end the quarter with a five-point lead. Despite that, both teams were sloppy at times particularly with taking care of the ball. This was especially true for the Bulls, who managed to commit eight turnovers alone just in the first 12 minutes.
Chicago was able to improve upon that in the second quarter, though four turnovers in a quarter is still pretty hefty. Nevertheless, the Thunder fell behind in the second period, as the Bulls were able to extend their lead to double digits. Two back-to-back threes by Mike Dunleavy led to an 11-point lead, and this was maintained until the conclusion of the first half.
By halftime, Chicago was shooting 44.7% and 41.7% from the field and on threes, respectively. On the other hand, Oklahoma City was held to 37.5% on field goals as well as 25.0% from downtown. The advantage also belonged to the Bulls when it came to rebounding and assists.
In the third quarter, an offensive slump came upon Chicago. At the same time, OKC used this to cut down the deficit. The lead never changed hands in the period, but it was close enough to lead to a tie game early in the fourth quarter.
There was a brief time when the Thunder finally stole the lead, but that quickly changed when both Deng and Rose decided to take over. The former All-Stars did their share of burying three-pointers and getting to the charity stripe. And in the end, they had done enough attain the victory.
Rose led all scorers with 26 points and also chipped in four rebounds, six assists, and one steal. The former MVP also went 10-for-10 from the free throw line. Deng and Carlos Boozer both scored 20 points and posted double-doubles.
With only one preseason game left on the schedule, the Bulls remain undefeated, 7-0. They will conclude exhibition play this Friday, Oct. 25 back in Chicago when they take on former Bull Nate Robinson and the Denver Nuggets.