MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

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February 24, 2013

Thunder run with, past Bulls, 102-72

OKLAHOMA CITY – Russell Westbrook scored 23 points, Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka both contributed double-doubles and the Oklahoma City Thunder held Chicago to the worst shooting performance in the NBA this season, beating the Bulls 102-72 on Sunday night.

The Thunder, who had allowed an average of 113 points over their previous four games, broke out of a rough defensive patch by limiting Chicago to 29.1 percent shooting.

The Bulls also had their worst shooting performance of last season in Oklahoma City, when they connected on just 33 percent. Midway through the third quarter, Chicago had missed 44 of its 55 shots and was on pace for the worst shooting night in franchise history.

The Thunder led 61-39 at that point, and the margin reached 32 with both teams’ starters sitting out the fourth quarter.

Nate Robinson and Luol Deng had 13 points apiece to lead Chicago.

Durant had 19 points, 16 rebounds and six assists and Ibaka had 17 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks as Oklahoma City won its second straight after losing three in a row for the first time this season. The Thunder also had the previous best defensive performance of the season by holding Charlotte to 29.11 percent shooting in a 114-69 blowout in November.

Chicago’s final percentage of 29.06, on 25 for 86 shooting, was a smidgen worse. Carlos Boozer had just two points, making one of his five shots, and Joakim Noah had eight points and nine rebounds. The Bulls came in as the third-lowest scoring team in the NBA and ranked 23rd in shooting percentage.

Curiously, the Bulls also are responsible for the best shooting percentage by a team this season – making 63.8 percent against Cleveland in November.

Each of the Thunder’s previous four opponents had made at least 46 percent from the field against a team that prides itself on being among the NBA’s best defenses – in addition to being the highest-scoring team. Oklahoma City was able to avoid giving up at least 100 points in a fifth straight game for the first time since January 2011.

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