Bulls, Thunder tangle in OKC

( - The Oklahoma City Thunder continue their pursuit for a playoff spot in the Western Conference Sunday afternoon when the Chicago Bulls stop by Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder are tied for the eighth and final playoff berth out west with the New Orleans Pelicans, who play the Denver Nuggets at home Sunday. Both teams have 17 games left.

On Friday, Russell Westbrook continued his amazing run with yet another triple-double en route to a 113-99 home win for the Thunder over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Westbrook recorded his eighth triple-double of the season with 29 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help OKC get its second win in the last three games.

Westbrook supplied his third triple-double of the month, his sixth in the last eight games as he continues his lights out play while Kevin Durant is sidelined with a foot injury.

"(Russell) is just displaying his all-around game at a consistent level. That is the sign of a very special player, he does it every night," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

Westbrook almost had a quadruple-double on Friday. He committed eight turnovers, which was lower than his previous two games where he had nine and 10 miscues, respectively.

Enes Kanter had 23 points and 15 rebounds and Anthony Morrow added 13 for Oklahoma City. Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was out of the lineup with right knee soreness. Mitch McGary stepped in and had 12 points for the hosts in a rare start.

The Thunder visit the Dallas Mavericks on Monday, then play four straight at home.

The Bulls are struggling a bit. They've lost four of their last five and fell two games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Central Division lead. Chicago is tied for third in the Eastern Conference with the Toronto Raptors.

On Friday, the Bulls squandered a halftime lead and fell to the Charlotte Hornets, 101-91, at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The Hornets overcame a 60-52 halftime deficit by outscoring Chicago by a 23-5 margin to begin the third quarter, a period in which the injury-plagued Bulls went a woeful 3-of-17 from the field and turned it over seven times.

Aaron Brooks paced the Bulls, still without Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson due to injuries, with 24 points. Pau Gasol added 18 and Tony Snell hit 5-of-9 attempts from 3-point range in a 17-point effort.

"Everyone is dealing with injuries. Everyone is dealing with playoff positioning. It's going to come down to how badly you want something," Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said afterward. "Every game you're playing for something. For some teams, you're playing to get in. For some teams, it's the seeding. If your house is not in order now, you're in trouble."

Snell's fifth triple of the night brought Chicago within 77-70 entering the fourth, and the deficit was cut to six when Doug McDermott drained a trey 30 seconds into the final frame to make the score 79-73.

The Bulls didn't make another basket over the next five minutes, however, as Charlotte went on a 16-4 run to increase the lead to 95-77 with 7:24 left.

Chicago returns home for two straight following Sunday's matchup.

The Bulls beat the Thunder in Chicago earlier this month to snap a five-game series losing streak. Oklahoma City has won four straight as the host over the Bulls.