DEERFIELD, Ill.—The Bulls’ goal of limiting Oklahoma City All-Star small forward Kevin Durant in Monday night’s game at the United Center won’t be an easy one, as evidenced by the Thunder superstar’s run of 31 consecutive games with at least 25 points. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau acknowledged the monumental challenge facing his team after Sunday afternoon’s practice at the Berto Center.
“He’s basically a 7-footer with a high release that’s a guard. He scores so many different ways. He’s seen every type of defense you can throw at him. It’s very difficult to get to his shot. You have to try to make him work for his points. He’s unselfish, plays hard, catch-and-shoot, post, runs the floor. There’s nothing that he doesn’t do well,” the coach explained.
If there was ever a season for the league’s leading scorer to wrest the MVP award away from Miami LeBron James, it might be this one, as he’s kept his team at the top of the Western Conference, even with fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook in and out of the lineup because of recurring knee issues.
Westbrook rests before matchup with Bulls
Westbrook missed the Thunder's game Sunday, a home loss to Dallas, as part of Oklahoma City's plan to rest the All-Star in back-to-back contests. According to reports, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said he would play Monday in Chicago.
“Only the team knows where he is in terms of health. I think they do a good job, as good as anyone. He’s coming off of surgery. You do what you think is right,” Thibodeau said of the Thunder’s approach. “They’ve always done that. I have a lot of respect for that organization and the way they do things.”
Noah in NBA endangered animal campaign
Bulls’ All-Star center Joakim Noah has seen his national profile increase this season because of his stellar play, leading the NBA to make him more of a face of the league.
The fringe MVP candidate is featured in a television ad from NBA Cares and WildAid that debuted last week. Noah joins college teammate Al Horford of the Hawks, Oklahoma City teammates Serge Ibaka and ex-Bull Thabo Sefolosha, the Lakers’ Pau Gasol and New York’s Tyson Chandler, another former Bull, in the commercial, which focuses on reducing the demand for ivory and rhino horn, protect elephants and rhinoceroses.