After losing to the Rockets on Monday night and again to the Raptors on Wednesday night, the Thunder will be back in action tonight when they take on the Bulls inside the United Center in Chicago. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on TNT, and here’s a few things to keep in mind:
What Rose will the Thunder face?
It was only three seasons ago when Derrick Rose was the MVP of the NBA, but after multiple injuries over the last few years, the springy point guard has shown to be mostly a shell of his old self. Through five games this season, Rose is averaging only 10.2 points per game to go with 5.4 assists.
Many assumed that Rose would benefit from the freedom he has in Fred Hoiberg’s offense, but so far Rose has yet to capitalize on the coaching change. Rose still flashes the athleticism he’s always had, but struggles to be efficient enough to be considered among the league’s elite.
Battle of former college coaches
Both the Thunder and Bulls have been among the NBA’s best teams over recent seasons, but neither Billy Donovan nor Fred Hoiberg was coaching either team until this year.
Donovan won two national championships while coaching at Florida, while Hoiberg was known as the “Mayor” around Iowa State after playing for the Cyclones and then leading them to the NCAA Tournament each of the last four seasons.
Both coaches are taking over teams that have fairly high expectations, so it’ll be interesting to see how they adjust as the season continues.
Thunder must cut back on turnovers
Through five games, the Thunder is the worst turnover team in the league with an average of 20.2 per game. The Thunder actually averages 2.4 more turnovers than the next closest team (Philadelphia 17.8). If the Thunder wants to finish atop the Western Conference, they must protect the ball better.