The Bulls, reckoned the people who reckon these things, didn’t figure to figure in this one. I have to assume that Fred Hoiberg gave his troops the proper encouragement in the wake of this dismissive talk, because the Bulls absolutely dominated the proceedings from late in the second quarter on. Chicago led 55-47 at the half, and then trounced the Thunder 39-26 in the third quarter. Nor did they let up in the fourth, and the final was an embarrassing (for the home team, anyway) 128-100, evening up the season series at 1-1 and spurring mumbles of “Trap game!” out in the cheap(er) seats.
Jimmy Butler, who didn’t get a chance to show off in front of OKC earlier this year, dropped 11 of 17 shots for 28 points. And the youngster was spelled by the veteran: Dwyane Wade, a game-high +32 for the night, grabbed 18 points and seven rebounds. Four more Bulls finished in double figures, which can happen when you hit 60.5 percent for 48 minutes. And this may be instructive: the Bulls made six of 15 treys, while the Thunder made ten of, um, 37. Russell Westbrook, like Butler, scored 28; unlike Butler, Westbrook went 10-23. Second scorer? Jerami Grant, who came up with 15. (Big brother Jerian scored 12 for the Bulls.) A flurry of garbage-time activity brought OKC up to 38 percent shooting, but you have to be appalled at the sort of roundball ineptitude that can be improved to 38 percent. (Hint: The Thunder took 19 more shots, and made 11 fewer.) Bright, or at least not-so-dim spot: Joffrey Lauvergne was +5 after 14 minutes, the only player in Thunder blue to finish on the good side of the line.
Oh, and the Grizzlies are coming to town day after tomorrow. There may be some heavy drinking to do between now and then.