The Chicago Bulls have been mired in organizational turmoil over the past week, but it was hard to tell Wednesday based on the way they squashed the Oklahoma City Thunder, 128-100, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
On the heels of a thorough 121-108 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, the Bulls made light work of OKC's seventh-ranked defense to the tune of 60 percent shooting from the field to improve to 4-2 over their last six games and 25-25 on the year.
Jimmy Butler topped the scoring charts with 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting along with five assists, four rebounds and three steals, and his teammates brought plenty of juice to send the Thunder packing.
Robin Lopez posted 14 points in a plus-22 effort matched up against the burly Steven Adams, while Dwyane Wade finished with a team-best plus-32 rating and a full line consisting of 18 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
The story differed for the Thunder, who dropped to 28-22. Oklahoma City received 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds from Russell Westbrook, but not much else.
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As a team, the Thunder shot 38 percent from the field and 27 percent from three-point range. They were outscored 50-44 in the paint on a night when they sorely missed their second-unit anchor, per ESPN.com's Royce Young:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Apparently Enes Kanter is quite important to this Thunder team.2017-2-2 04:22:23
Oklahoma City finished the first half shooting 38.8 percent from the field, and things unraveled toward the end of the second quarter. The Bulls ripped off a 7-0 run over the final 35 seconds of the half, which allowed them to enter the locker room with a solid eight-point cushion.
The cherry on top of that jaunt came courtesy of Butler, who fluttered home a pretty double-pump shot off the glass just before halftime, as the Bulls' Twitter account documented:
Chicago Bulls @chicagobulls
Jimmy Butler doing Jimmy Butler things! https://t.co/cePPA0xlDA2017-2-2 03:48:45
As it turns out, that was just the beginning of the Bulls' scoring avalanche.
Chicago opened the third quarter on a 17-4 run, and its lead ballooned with the Thunder ice-cold, as ESPN.com's Nick Friedell noted:
Nick Friedell @NickFriedell
The Bulls just imposing their will on the Thunder right now. I've never heard this building so quiet. Bulls up 19.2017-2-2 04:02:58
The Bulls poured in 39 points to take a 21-point lead into the fourth quarter, and that deficit was too large for even Westbrook to overcome, as Young pointed out:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Westbrook is doing everything he can to spark a run, but OKC can't string together any stops to actually get this manageable.2017-2-2 04:18:24
Oklahoma City has lost three straight, and it has looked lost without Enes Kanter available to supplement Westbrook.
That's bad news for a Thunder team that figures to struggle against the Memphis Grizzlies' stingy defense on Friday before it's tasked with trying to match the Portland Trail Blazers in a showdown Sunday.
Conversely, the Bulls will look to keep rolling after starting off their six-game road swing with a big win. However, that won't be easy, with the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors representing two of their next three opponents.
"I thought we had great recognition tonight," head coach Fred Hoiberg said, per the Bulls' official Twitter account. "I really like the way we are sharing the ball right now."
Hoiberg also told reporters he was encouraged by his team's energy level, per the team's Twitter account: Biggest thing I wanted to see was us coming out with a great effort, and we did that."
In the Thunder locker room, Westbrook didn't have much to say regarding the 28-point loss, as Young documented:
Royce Young @royceyoung
Here's Russell Westbrook on tonight's ugly loss to the Bulls: https://t.co/n7EGs2goIH2017-2-2 05:38:45
Elsewhere, head coach Billy Donovan simply said he "didn't think we were very good tonight," according to the Norman Transcript's Fred Katz.
Looking ahead, Donovan told reporters the Thunder are "going to have to grind on each possession" on both ends of the floor to secure wins, according to the Oklahoman's Erik Horne.
Stats courtesy of NBA.com.