In their second preseason matchup, the Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Chicago Bulls 124-103. Thunder coach Mark Daigneault chose to hold his starters out of the second half, leaving plenty of minutes for the young and developing players. The Thunder were led by Al Horford in the first half and Frank Jackson in the second half, with each recording 15 points apiece. In his first action for the Thunder, Horford’s presence was a welcome sight for a young team, adding 7 rebounds and a plethora of screens. He was often creating beauty in the pick-and-roll situations with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who poured in 12 points and 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Lu Dort struggled in his first game back for the Thunder, as he finished with no points after going 0-7 from the field and 0-4 from long-range. Moses Brown added 12 points, joining Horford, Jackson, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Theo Maledon in double-figures.
After a nice 16-6 run by the Bulls to close the first half, the duo of Zach LaVine and Coby White was simply too much to handle for the Thunder’s bench. Lavine poured in 24 points while White led all scorers with 27 points, 18 of which came in the third quarter. After leading by 13 at the half, Chicago pushed their lead to as much as 27 a couple of times. Though the young Thunder players showed their scrappiness with 11 steals, they were dominated on the boards, especially on the defensive end.
Rookies Theo Maledon and Aleksej Pokusevski both looked smooth once again, adding both floaters and long-range shots. Maledon finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and a pair of assists and steals, while Pokusevski added 7 points and 7 rebounds with a pair of assists and steals as well. Both showed flashes of excellent passing and court vision, with Pokusevski still displaying his raw ability and lack of strength.
The Thunder will be back in action in their final preseason tune-up on Friday against the Bulls once again. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 PM CT at Chesapeake Arena.