Thunder vs Bulls Preview and Free Pick [1/9/2017]

Oklahoma City (22-16) at Chicago (19-18)
When: Monday, January 9th 2017
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: FSN Oklahoma, CSN Chicago

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The Oklahoma City Thunder look to break their road woes when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Monday night at the United Center. The Thunder broke a three-game losing streak on Saturday with a 121-106 home victory over the Denver Nuggets. Oklahoma City has lost four of their last six with all losses coming on the road and the two wins at home. Things won’t get any easier as the Thunder play nine of their next 11 games away from home starting in Chicago tonight. Russell Westbrook went 7-of-12 from 3-point range on Saturday en route to his 17th triple-double of the season. Westbrook is a career 30.7% shooter from 3-point range and went 4-of-22 from beyond the arc in the first two games this month before exploding over the last two. The star guard knocked down 8-of-15 from beyond the arc in a loss at Houston on Thursday and pulled Oklahoma City out of a three-game skid with his 32 points, 17 rebounds and 11 assists in the return home on Saturday. Shooting guard Victor Oladipo is back and healthy again, averaging 16.6 points in five games since returning from a wrist injury.


Bulls guard Jimmy Butler is doing his best Westbrook imitation and carrying the Bulls on his back recently. Butler is averaging 34.2 points in the last six games and led Chicago to wins over the top two teams in the Eastern Conference – Cleveland and Toronto – in the last two games. “He’s playing as good as anybody in the league right now,” Bulls guard Dwyane Wade told Butler scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter during Wednesday’s win at Cleveland and recorded 42 points, 10 rebounds and five assists against the Raptors on Saturday. Butler is averaging 6.8 assists in the last four games – a stretch that coincides with the team benching point guard Rajon Rondo. Reserve small forward Doug McDermott has scored in double figures in five straight games and is coming off a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double on Saturday. Chicago was won three in a row overall and is currently the seventh-seed in the Eastern Conference Playoff race.

These teams are currently going in opposite directions and I don’t have confidence taking the Thunder on the road right now. Chicago is a confident group right now after knocking off the top two teams in the East. I’ll ride the momentum tonight.

Pick: Bulls -2