Is Russell Westbrook human? He'll have to have another huge game tonight if the Thunder are to get a win in the Windy City tonight. Check out our top NBA picks for this one.
The Thunder are playing good basketball right now, while the Bulls are banged up. That's why NBA odds board have listed Oklahoma City as three-point favorites despite being on the road.
Will we see an up-tempo game or a grind-it-out type of matchup? The O/U is trading in the 199.5 to 200 range right now, with still plenty of time for the basketball odds to shift throughout the day. Keep checking back with SBRodds.com to get the latest lines.
Injuries are trying their best to get in the way, yet the Bulls continue to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference. They're at 38-23 overall right now and look like they'll be a lock for a high seed come playoff time, barring a total collapse down the stretch.
But, just how bad is the healthy situation over in the Windy City? Derrick Rose recently underwent surgery and will be out for the rest of the regular season most likely, while Jimmy Butler picked up a shoulder injury and will be out for weeks too. Considering those are Chicago's two best perimeter players, Tom Thibodeau has really been tested here as of late. Taj Gibson has been banged up too, making matters even worse.
With those guys out, the likes of Aaron Brooks, Tony Snell and Nikola Mirotic have picked up a lot more responsbility and, so far, they've risen to the challenge. However, it's really going to come down to the frontcourt duo of Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah to carry the load until Rose and Butler return to the fold. The Bulls have been through a lot of adversity in the past, so these challenging times aren't really anything new.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Forgive us, but how can we not clamor about Russell Westbrook for most of this writeup? There hasn't been a more dominant player in the NBA recently, with Westbrook taking over in Kevin Durant's absence and posting some truly mind-boggling numbers. He barely missed any time after fracturing his cheek, and last night he returned with a vengeance.
In one of the most amazing individual performances we've ever seen, Westbrook exploded for 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. He was unstoppable on the offensive end of the floor and didn't look affected by the facemask whatsoever. However, despite all of Westbrook's heroics, the Thunder still had way more trouble getting past the 76ers at home than many expected.
So, after an overtime win last night, it's going to be interesting to see how much energy Oklahoma City comes out with tonight. We wouldn't be surprised to see a slow start out of the Thunder as they try to get their feet under them, or it could go the other way and they could come out hot and then fizzle out late the more tired they get.
Though it's never a comforting feeling to fade the best player in the NBA right now, the Thunder did just have to expend a ton of energy in an overtime win last night. They then had to travel to Chicago immediately, so this doesn't exactly set up as a great spot.
Meanwhile, the Bulls have had more time to rest and will be at home. They're incredibly banged up right now, but they still have talent out on the court, especially in the frontcourt with Gasol and Noah. Those two are going to have to run the show and set the tone on both ends of the court to give Chicago a chance.
Stopping Westbrook doesn't seem all that likely, but the Bulls' superior balance should hold them in good stead. With the rested legs aiding them, we'll be adding Chicago as our NBA pick to cover as rare home dogs.
Free NBA Pick: Chicago Bulls +3