Looking to avenge rout, Bulls visit Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- If Russell Westbrook wants to get back on track as a triple-double machine, he might find some success in Oklahoma City's Wednesday night game against the Chicago Bulls.

Westbrook, who hasn't had a triple-double in six games, finally notched his first career triple-double against the Bulls in the teams' first meeting earlier this year.

Westbrook, who turned 29 on Sunday, had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in the 32-point win in Chicago. And he wasn't even the leading scorer. That went to Carmelo Anthony, who led the Thunder with 21 points. Paul George added 20.

"They've got so much talent on that roster," Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg told the Chicago Tribune. "They really just went to the matchup that was most favorable, lined us up and got whatever they wanted. We didn't offer a lot of resistance in that game. And offensively, we were a disaster. Our spacing was poor. Our cutting was poor. When we started missing shots, it affected every aspect of our game."

That loss was the Bulls' worst of the season until they lost by 39 to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

The Thunder and Bulls may look a little bit different in this meeting. Bulls point guard Kris Dunn is slated to get the first start of the season because Justin Holiday is on paternity leave to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child late Monday.

With Dunn at point guard, Jerian Grant will slide over to the two-spot, and Denzel Valentine may get the start over Paul Zipser at the three. Robin Lopez is expected to retain his starting spot in the middle.

The Bulls will also likely have Lauri Markkanen back in the rotation after he sprained his ankle against the Spurs last week.

Part of the lineup change stems from Chicago's four-game losing streak.

"I am seeing a little lack of confidence right now, but we've got to find a way to fix that," Hoiberg said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "When I look at the overall body of work -- going back to the summer and September when everybody was back and (in) training camp -- we were very competitive. We were playing at a very high level getting into our preseason. Guys were rising up with confidence, making shots.

"When we don't shoot the ball well right now, we're not bringing the energy we need on the other end of the floor. So it's about building that confidence back up."

Chicago isn't alone in dealing with injuries and absences.

The Thunder will likely be without at least one starter.

Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan said he doesn't expect center Steven Adams to play while the big man nurses a calf bruise.

"Unless something changes at shootaround I don't expect him to play," Donovan said, according to The Oklahoman. "That's not to say he won't, but that's just my feeling right now coming off today's practice."

Anthony, who was a late scratch for Sunday's game with a sore back, will be evaluated Wednesday.

With Adams likely out and Anthony's status uncertain, Dakari Johnson and Jerami Grant could grab another starting opportunity. Johnson, who's started the last two games for Oklahoma City, is averaging seven points, two rebounds, one assist and one block this season.

Grant, a power forward, started in Anthony's place Sunday and responded with 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.

While Chicago has had success in Oklahoma City recently, winning its last two trips to Oklahoma City, the Thunder are 2-0 in this three-game homestand.
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