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Thursday, November 8, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Thunder 97, Bulls 91

By Nick Friedell



CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Oklahoma City Thunder squeaked out a 97-91 Thursday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Kevin Durant finished with 24 points and hit several big shots down the stretch to ice the win. Serge Ibaka added 21 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots, playing great defense throughout the night. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 27 points. Rip Hamilton had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Joakim Noah pulled down 13 rebounds.

What it means: The Bulls miss Derrick Rose every night, but they missed him badly down the stretch in this one. Durant was simply overwhelming down the stretch and ended up breaking the Bulls down in the final seconds with jumpers and free throws. The Bulls just didn't have an answer. Tom Thibodeau has got to be pleased with the way his team competed, but they made too many mistakes throughout the game to overcome. Thibodeau will not be happy with the 20 turnovers his team committed. The Bulls are never going to roll over against any team, but they simply don't have the star power to overcome great individual efforts on nights when players like Durant decide to take over.

Stat of the night: The Thunder outscored the Bulls 46-34 in the paint.

Hits: Kirk Hinrich bounced back with a nice game, scoring 12 points and dishing out five assists, but he will be frustrated with himself for missing a few shots in the final moments.

Misses: Carlos Boozer was just 3-for-9 from the field and did not play much in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row.

What's next: The Bulls take on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night at the United Center.