It was the Bulls Wednesday who brought the thunder, and it was enough to light up Oklahoma City for a 128-100 Bulls victory.
It was an offensive storm from the Bulls with 73 points in the second and third quarters combined that enabled the Bulls to maintain a lead of at least 20 points through the fourth quarter.
Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 28 points. Dwyane Wade had 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Robin Lopez had 14 points on seven of eight shooting. Jerian Grant had 12 points. Russell Westbrook had 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds. The Bulls set a regular season scoring high for this season. It came after Sunday’s win over the 76ers also set a regular season scoring high for this season. The Bulls shot a season high 60 percent.
The Bulls moved back to .500 at 25-25 in the first game of their six-game road trip. They are in Houston Friday. The Thunder is 28-22.
Taj Gibson was back in the starting lineup again from his sore right ankle while the Thunder’s Enes Kanter was out after breaking his arm recently punching a chair. All eyes were on Westbrook with his season of triple doubles, including Butler as he defended Westbrook. Butler had the flu last month when the Bulls lost to the Thunder in the United Center and had to leave the game early. It was a good start early for the Bulls with Butler and Jerian Grant combing it to make seven of their first 10 shots combined as the Bulls took a 14-7 lead and then hiking it up to 18-9 as Gibson spun inside for a score. But with the lineup changes, the Bulls sputtered afterward with multiple turnovers. The Thunder went on an 11-1 run before Cristiano Felicio closed the quarter with a short shot for a 21-20 Bulls lead after one quarter. The teams are the last two in the league in three-point shooting percentage, and neither had much going to start the second quarter with a Westbrook three giving the Thunder a 29-28 lead about four minutes in. But Wade then with a lob pas to Felicio ignited the Bulls, who closed the half with seven points in the last 35 seconds and 19-8 run to take a 55-47 halftime lead. Butler had 18 points and the Bulls moved up to 54 percent first half shooting by scoring on nine of their final 10 possessions of the first half. Westbrook had 15 at the half, though on six of 15 shooting.
The Bulls opened the second half going to Wade on offense and he responded with a pair of jumpers which were matched by Lopez for a 63-51 Bulls lead three minutes in. The Bulls then took advantage of poor Oklahoma City shooting and the Thunder going small for what would be an 11-0 run with Gibson and Lopez overpowering smaller players. That gave the Bulls a 72-51 lead, which led to Westbrook then lining up the basket on five straight possessions and getting the Thunder within 76-60 with 5:07 left in the third quarter. With Westbrook penetrating and passing out, the Thunder made a pair of threes. But the Bulls got a nice lift from Paul Zipser with a three and a three-point play as the Bulls went into the fourth quarter leading 94-73 with 28 from Butler after a 39-point third quarter from the Bulls. Wade contributed eight straight points early in the fourth after Felicio made another terrific catch on an interior pass and the Bulls led 106-81 with 8:32 left in the game.