Keys To The Game: Bulls vs. Thunder (2.12.22)

The Bulls look to make it three-straight wins when they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night. OKC has been struggling all season and that continues as they come to Chicago on a four-game losing streak.

Rookie guard Josh Giddey provides a mismatch problem at 6-foot-8, but the youngster is still a pass-first player without much in the way of go-to scoring ability at the moment.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander out until after the All-Star break, this Thunder team will need to find creative ways to keep up on offense.

Chicago should have more than enough offensive firepower to take down Oklahoma City on Saturday. The Bulls will make sure not to underestimate them, as Chicago only beat the Thunder by one point in Oklahoma City.

Locate Lu Dort on the perimeter

Luguentz Dort has always been a tough defender but has made himself into a nice basketball player through the development of a solid 3-point shot.

This season Dort is firing up a career-high number of 3-pointers, over 7 attempts per game. He is only knocking 33% of his 3-point shots but it has contributed to Dort's career-high 16 points per game.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander sidelined until after the All-Star break, Dort will be Oklahoma City's leading scorer on the floor. Dort isn't the type of player who creates his own offense but if he is left too many catch-and-shoot opportunities to feast on, he is capable of making Chicago pay from deep.

Production from the bench unit

This key is, of course, somewhat dependent on who the starters are, but either way Billy Donovan simply needs more out of his bench unit.

DeMar DeRozan has been on an absolute scoring tear, with four straight games of at least 35 points. We know DeRozan is capable of keeping this up but it would be a huge weight off of his shoulders if the Bulls could get some double-digit scoring efforts from their bench players.

Coby White was huge in this area on Friday, scoring 22-points off the bench and powering most of the Bulls 3-point scoring with six makes from deep. These type of efforts from the Chicago bench keep the stars fresh for the long haul.

Establish a paint presence early

The Bulls offense is at its absolute best when they are gettin plenty of paint touches. It doesn't matter if it is Nikola Vucevic, DeRozan or Javonte Green, get the ball to a Chicago player in the paint and good things usually happen.

Green dominated in the paint and knocked down his open 3-pointers to the tune of a career-high 23 points. A huge part of Green's game is getting offensive boards and making well-timed cuts to the rim, often for explosive finishes.

And even on the open 3-pointer Green hit, the play was opened up by some initial dribble drive penetration.

If the Bulls make sure to get the ball inside early and often, then they should present themselves with plenty of opportunities to take advantage of an inexperienced OKC squad.