The Bulls heard the Thunder, and then saw Oklahoma City light up the United Center Saturday in a 101-69 victory over the Bulls.
The Bulls fell behind by double digits quickly, rallied to within three points after the first quarter and then collapsed in the second quarter and never recovered.
The Bulls were led by Lauri Markkanen with 15 points and eight rebounds. Justin Holiday had 11 points and Robin Lopez 10. Kris Dunn added eight. The Bulls shot just 28.2 percent and were 10 of 37 on threes.
Oklahoma City was led by Carmelo Anthony with 21 points, Paul George with 12 and Russell Westbrook with 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists. It was his first triple double against the Bulls, who had been the only opponent against whom Westbrook did not have a triple double.
Dunn made his Bulls debut after being injured in the preseason and Paul Zipser returned after missing one game with knee soreness. Oklahoma City was coming in after losing in Minneapolis Friday and with the nose of their plane damage during the landing at Midway Airport Saturday morning. It was apparently a bird hit, but it was the Bulls grounded to start the game as the Thunder hit with a lightning 15-3 start. Led by George with nine points. The Bulls recovered to trail 26-23 after the first quarter with Markkanen making his only two shots, threes. It was an unsteady first run for Dunn with three fouls in seven minutes as the Thunder led by George piled on the Bulls to start the second quarter. The Thunder forced the Bulls into a half dozen turnovers and slowed the Bulls movement on offense, taking a 44-25 lead seven minutes into the second quarter. The Bulls committed eight second quarter turnovers overall to none for Oklahoma City as the Thunder with that 18-2 run earlier in the second quarter hit the Bulls with a 24-8 second quarter for a 50-31 halftime lead. The Bulls shot two of 16 in the quarter.
Circumstances didn’t improve after halftime as Westbrook recorded his triple double midway through the third quarter on lob dunk plays with Steven Adams. Dunn finally scored his first basket going into a timeout seven minutes in the third quarter with the Thunder leading 65-40. The Thunder led 82-53 after three quarters with the Bulls shooting just 28 percent through three quarters. Anthony had 12 points in the third, all on three pointers.