The Chicago Bulls are enjoying an incredible three-game win streak and will be looking to extend their great run when they host Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night.
It’s been a fun little run for the Bulls. They benched Rajon Rondo, seemingly a permanent situation, and then Jimmy Butler in on the Hornets for 52 points, took over in the fourth against the Cavaliers, and went off in the second half and overtime against the Raptors. Both of those things happened after it was rumored that head coach Fred Hoiberg was on the hot seat, coaching for his job, and a second, unsubstantiated rumor that Butler was being shopped for potential trades. 2017 has already been a crazy year for Chicago.
Now, we’ll get to watch Butler take on one of the best in West, Russell Westbrook.
While they’re not exactly similar players, they have been producing similar results of late. Westbrook has always been a triple-double machine, but he’s taken it to another level this year since Kevin Durant left town. He’s also one of only two players in the NBA that averages more free throws per contest than Butler.
Westbrook, similarly, has a thin supporting cast. In addition to Durant leaving Oklahoma City, the Thunder traded away Serge Ibaka. Now, it’s Steven Adams, Enes Kanter, and Victor Oladipo. Oklahoma City also has rookie forward Domantas Sabonis, son of Arvydas Sabonis, a memorable NBA player in his own time.
There are all kinds of fun storylines in this game, highlighted by Westbrook and Butler, but what’s really going to be important is the Bulls ability to get another big win. They’re in the early stages of a stretch of games that looked dire on paper. It was likely that they were going to find out a lot more about Hoiberg’s job status and which teams Rondo and Butler would be playing for moving forward. Right now, it looks like the answer to Hoiberg and Butler is going to remain the Bulls.
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The Thunder are securely among the top seven teams in the Western Conference, but need to pick up a few more wins against teams like Chicago if they want to even think about surpassing the teams ahead of them. And Westbrook, fresh off a triple-double in a win over the Denver Nuggets, will be looking forward to matching up with Butler.
Matchup: Chicago Bulls (19-18) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (22-16)
When: 7:00 p.m. CST
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Radio: WLS-AM 890