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    Mar 2009
    Lonley Planet


    Default Thunder charge over Bulls in third quarter

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    Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, Kevin Durant added 25 and the Oklahoma City Thunder dominated the third quarter Monday night in a 98-85 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

    Westbrook and Durant had eight points each during a 27-6 run in the third, when the Thunder shot 65 per cent to take control. It was Oklahoma City's sixth victory in seven games.

    Derrick Rose scored 19 points and Joakim Noah had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who were booed by their fans as they shot 22 per cent in the decisive third period.

    Chicago had won four games in a row since reports emerged that coach Vinny Del Negro's job was in jeopardy. General manager Gar Forman refused to give Del Negro a vote of confidence last week.

    Durant, the NBA's fourth-leading scorer at 28.4 points per game, had his string of 30-point games snapped at seven, a franchise record.

    The Bulls led 56-49 early in the second half when they stopped scoring and the Thunder started hitting shots from everywhere. Westbrook's driving layup and Durant's three-pointer capped a 15-4 run that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay, 64-60, with 6:38 left in the third.

    After Luol Deng made a jumper, the Thunder scored the next 12 points for a 76-62 lead. At that point, Oklahoma City was 12-of-17 from the floor in the quarter while the Bulls were 5-for-29.

    Rose outscored the Thunder 7-2 to pull the Bulls within 10 with 3:33 to go. But Westbrook responded with a basket and Durant hit two free throws, and Chicago never threatened after that.

    Noah scored eight points as the Bulls took a 24-12 lead. They still led 35-30 when Eric Maynor made a three-pointer to start a 9-2 run that put the Thunder up 39-37 with 4:50 to go in the second.

    Deng then scored five points during a 12-2 run for a 49-41 Chicago lead. Durant scored twice and assisted on Serge Ibaka's basket to pull Oklahoma City within two before Kirk Hinrich's three put the Bulls ahead 52-47 at halftime.



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