Rapid Reaction: Bulls 94, Thunder 89

October, 23, 2012
10/23/12
9:40
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 94-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Carlos Boozer had another good game, scoring 24 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out five assists. Luol Deng added 21 points, five rebounds and three assists. The Bulls caught a break in this one with Oklahoma City stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook getting the night off to rest. Kirk Hinrich did not play in the second half because of a strained right groin. Given that the Bulls are already playing most of the year without Derrick Rose and Marquis Teague has struggled in limited minutes, they have to hope Hinrich isn't out for an extended period of time.

What it means: Yes, the Bulls won, but they did so against a team playing without its two best players. With a bench that is still struggling to find its niche, Tom Thibodeau is more dependent on his veteran starters than ever. They simply can't afford to have any of them go down for a while. The issue is that each player has dealt with various serious injuries over the past few years so it's hard to imagine a scenario where they all stay healthy all season. What Tuesday's game underscores is that the depth that has been such a key for the Bulls in recent years just isn't there right now. Marco Belinelli didn't score in this one and still hasn't hit a three-pointer this preseason. Nate Robinson, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed combined to go just 3-for-15 from the field. There's still time for the Bulls, but Thibodeau understands his team has a long way to go to find consistency up and down the roster.

Stat of the night: Thunder swingman James Harden was 2-for-17 from the field.

Hits: Joakim Noah had a solid night and looked energized in 35 minutes. Noah had 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

Misses: The Bulls bench. They scored just 13 points and went a combined 5-for-20 from the floor.

What's next: The Bulls will practice the next couple of days before their final preseason tilt against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night in South Bend.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5