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Bulls unable to overcome Thunder

Bulls fall to 40-28 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 3.15.2015 | 2:35 p.m. CT

The Bulls Sunday battled gallantly, albeit in vain down the stretch as the Oklahoma City Thunder had a 10-2 run in the last two minutes to defeat the Bulls 109-100.

The Bulls fell to 40-28 on the season with their fifth loss in the last six games. The Bulls are 20-14 on the road and at home. The Thunder went to 37-29.

The Bulls were led by Nikola Mirotic with 27 points and Pau Gasol with 20 points and eight rebounds. Joakim Noah had 15 points and seven assists. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 36 points and 11 rebounds and a run of key scores down the stretch.

It was another slow start for the Bulls, though the Thunder cooperated in a 17-15 Thunder first quarter lead. Gasol scored 12 of the points for the Bulls. The teams woke up in the early start with a more spirited second quarter as Mirotic scored 10 points and the teams were tied 47-47 at halftime. The Bulls finally got their three-ball going in the third quarter to take a late lead, but fell to a Russell Westbrook flurry to send the Thunder into the fourth quarter leading 75-70.

Observations:

1. Pau Gasol continues to carry the Bulls on offense with the injuries to Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson. His face up shooting game has been consistent and he even leads the Bulls in three-point shooting percentage.

2. Nikola Mirotic should be a serious Rookie of the Year candidate the way he continues to score for a team with so few legitimate scoring options.

3. Joakim Noah has had trouble finishing on offense this season, but got to the basket and scored more effectively Sunday than he has in weeks.