Oklahoma City nearly completed a furious second half comeback but fell just short to the Bulls at home, losing 111-110.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his impressive stretch of games with a 31 point effort tonight. The Kentucky product has now scored over 28 points in three straight outings, and did so efficiently tonight too. He finished the night shooting 9-of-17 and 2-for-5 from 3-point range.
Nikola Vucevic and Ayo Dosunmu led the way for the Bulls, both with 20-plus point performances. Vucevic has a monster double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds, while Dosunmu notched a career high of 24.
In the first quarter, OKC oddly struggled to slow down rookie Ayo Dosunmu. Dosunmu scored 10 of the Bulls first 26 points and was a perfect 4-for-4 to start. In Zach Lavine’s return, all of the attention and preparation was geared towards him, and Dosunmu took advantage of that.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s hot start paced the Thunder in the first half. SGA, who had 9 first quarter points, finished the half with 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
With 3:57 left in the second quarter, Lu Dort drilled his second triple of the game to bring the Thunder within four, 48-44. From there, Chicago was able to go on a run behind Dosunmu’s 16 first half points to head in to halftime with a 58-48 lead.
Oklahoma City can typically count on Kenrich Williams and Mike Muscala to be ultra efficient players, but the duo’s rough half plagued the Thunder’s second unit. Williams and Muscala combined to shoot just 2-of-10 from the floor.
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After a Troy Brown Jr. layup, Chicago extended its commanding lead to 28 points, leading OKC 84-56 with 6:20 left in the third quarter. From there, the Thunder went on a miraculous run. Oklahoma City’s 20-to-4 third quarter run brought them within striking distance, as Chicago led 92-78 heading into the fourth.
With 14.8 left in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City cut the Chicago lead to just one with a Josh Giddey layup. Unfortunately, that was the closest the Thunder could get it after pitting themselves in a 28-point hole. Gilgeous-Alexander missed a step-back triple to tie the game in the final seconds.
Rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl had a strong showing tonight, scoring 12 points while shooting 4-of-7 from the floor. All of JRE’s makes came from behind the 3-point line, where he went 4-of-6.
The Thunder currently sit at 14-33, as they are quickly dropping to a top five draft pick. While young assets are clearly improving and gaining valuable experience, OKC has now lost 11 of its last 12.
Oklahoma City has a quiet week, as they continue their home stand Friday at 7 p.m. against the Indiana Pacers.