Coach Tom Thibodeau said beforehand that his team would be tested several different ways against the Oklahoma City, but even he couldn’t have seen his team struggling as bad as they did in the 102-72 blowout loss on Sunday night.
The Bulls shot a season low 29 percent from the field, which was an improvement over their first half shooting in which they shot 20 percent (10-of-48 shooting). They also finished with a season low in assists with 14 and made field goals (25).
Adding that to losing Taj Gibson in the fourth quarter to a sprained left knee and you have a night to forget. Gibson will be re-evaluated on Monday morning.
Nate Robinson and Luol Deng led the Bulls with 13 points each, shooting a combined 8-of-28, while Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Richard Hamilton went a combined 5-of-21 from the field.
“The way we competed was just embarrassing,” said Joakim Noah, who had eight points and nine rebounds. “The way we competed was bad.”
The Bulls (32-24) never got into any sort of flow on the offensive end and were lucky to only be down just 13 at halftime, only shooting 20 percent from the field.
The Thunder (41-15) opened the second half with a 12-3 run, on their way to a 31-point quarter and both coaches electing to sit their starters in the final frame.
“Our offense hurt us. I thought we had a shot to get back in it at the end of the second quarter,” Thibodeau said. “We started off the third quarter with low energy, tough shots, no defense and game over.”
The Bulls were once again without starting point guard Kirk Hinrich, who sat out his third straight game as he tries to alleviate some of the soreness in his right elbow.
The Bulls were coming off their own rout of the Charlotte Bobcats, a game in which they registered a season high 37 assists to 42 field goals. That came one night after being blown out on their home floor against the defending champion Miami Heat. Somehow, they took two steps back against the defending Western Conference champs.
“We got to be better,” said Richard Hamilton, who scored five points on two-of-seven shooting. “It’s easier to score against bad teams that really don’t have a whole lot of principles. But when you play against good teams like Miami, Oklahoma City, it’s kind of like playoff-style games. You got to be better at not just your first option but your second and your third because good defensive teams know how to take away first options.”
The Thunder were led by Russell Westbrook’s 23. Kevin Durant added 19, 16 rebounds and six assists.
The Bulls will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday and haven’t suffered a loss to their Central Division rivals since March 19, 2010.