Rapid Reaction: Thunder 97, Bulls 85

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
9:41
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Oklahoma City Thunder earned a 97-85 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Kevin Durant is an unbelievable talent. He scored 35 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out five assists for the Thunder while taking over the game at times offensively. The Bulls had no answer for the star power that Durant provided and it showed down the stretch. Taj Gibson led Chicago with 16 points and seven rebounds, but it wasn't enough.

What it means: The Bulls' problem remains the same against elite teams, especially ones led by superstars of the caliber of Durant and Russell Westbrook. Jimmy Butler did the best he could against Durant defensively, but he couldn't do enough. The Bulls don't have a Durant -- or a Westbrook, for that matter. They don't have a player who can take over the game when needed. They don't have a player who can put the entire team on his shoulders repeatedly. Joakim Noah has done his best -- but he isn't that kind of player. The Bulls must execute perfectly against high-level teams, and they didn't do that in the final 10 minutes of this game.

Stat of the night: The Bulls scored 10 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Hits: Noah was just 2-for-8 from the field, but he almost had another triple-double with nine points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

Misses: Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin were a combined 6-for-23 from the field.

What's next: The Bulls hit the road to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

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