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TV/radio: 7 p.m., Thursday; TNT, WMVP-AM 1000.

Series: First meeting. The Thunder prevailed in last season's only game.

Last meeting: Russell Westbrook's 27 points led Oklahoma City to a 92-78 home victory April 1.

Probable starters (PPG)

Russell Westbrook 20.8; Kirk Hinrich 4.7

Thabo Sefolosha 6.3; Richard Hamilton 14

Kendrick Perkins 3.8; Joakim Noah 14.7

Serge Ibaka 10.5; Carlos Boozer 13.7

Kevin Durant 20.8; Luol Deng 13.3

Team averages (Through Wednesday)

Scoring offense: Thunder 98.3 (T-14); Bulls 97.3 (17)

Scoring defense: Thunder 92.5 (6); Bulls 88.7 (2)

FG percentage: Thunder .456 (T-12); Bulls .456 (T-12)

FT percentage:
Thunder .820 (7); Bulls .768 (T-14)

3-point FG percentage: Thunder .411 (7); Bulls .262 (29)

Rebounding: Thunder 44.5 (10); Bulls 42.7 (T-16)

Turnovers: Thunder 17.5 (24); Bulls 14 (T-9)
 

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The odds are probably 80-20 against us winning.

Go Bulls!
 

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up 12-4 to start... Rip looking assertive on the offensive end, Noah has his work cut out for him with Perkins/Ibaka but is doing a nice job on the offensive glass early.
 

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With 5 minutes left in the first half, the Bulls are down by 3. Martin got hot off the bench and Ibaka has been tough.
 

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Bulls with a 72-66 lead after 3. I'm worried about our depth this year and our ability to hold leads, hopefully we keep up the intensity
 

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Hard fought game, can the Bulls keep this type of intensity for an entire 82 game season?

Fourth Quarter showed us again, superstars win games.
 

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I thought the Bulls played hard but were done in by a poor showing from the bench as far as scoring and some inopportune turnovers. Boozer had a couple of sloppy turnovers that were extremely frustrating.
 

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Hard fought game, can the Bulls keep this type of intensity for an entire 82 game season?

Fourth Quarter showed us again, superstars win games.

Yep. The Bulls play well, but have no closer. Durant did his best Nowitzki impression, and the Bulls have nobody who can answer that.

For the Bulls to beat teams like the Thunder, they're going to have to be up going into the last couple of minutes. Without that buffer, star-laden teams are going to do this sort of thing to them.
 

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Yep. The Bulls play well, but have no closer. Durant did his best Nowitzki impression, and the Bulls have nobody who can answer that.

For the Bulls to beat teams like the Thunder, they're going to have to be up going into the last couple of minutes. Without that buffer, star-laden teams are going to do this sort of thing to them.
One thing that should be mentioned is the massive amount of minutes that these guys are already accumulating. Its not just the minutes but its also how hard these guys are playing. I just don't see how realistically they can keep this up for a full season.

Noah is playing a brutal 40 MPG
Deng is playing 40 mpg

The Bench is no longer a strength and they are missing Rose, a player who not only is their closer but someone who creates easy baskets for others.
 

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One thing that should be mentioned is the massive amount of minutes that these guys are already accumulating. Its not just the minutes but its also how hard these guys are playing. I just don't see how realistically they can keep this up for a full season.

Noah is playing a brutal 40 MPG
Deng is playing 40 mpg

The Bench is no longer a strength and they are missing Rose, a player who not only is their closer but someone who creates easy baskets for others.


Agreed on all fronts. Thibs clearly doesn't trust the new bench mob like he did the old one (probably for good reason, given what we've seen so far). I would like to see more of Nazr, though, as I'm concerned about Noah playing 40 MPG all season. He's putting up great numbers now, but if he goes down, you're pretty screwed.
 

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It doesn't help that Taj has been atrocious on Offense, with Boozer now struggling its going to be a bitch to get points when your 2 PF's are sucking it up offensively.
 
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