Paul George scored 16 of his game-high 24 points in the final five minutes of the first half and the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled to a 121-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

George’s scoring outburst came in the final 4:47 of the second quarter as Oklahoma City outscored the Bulls 23-7 and built a 64-44 lead by the break. He scored just one point in the second half.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant, center left, scuffles with Chicago Bull center Robin Lopez, center right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant, center left, scuffles with Chicago Bull center Robin Lopez, center right, in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

Russell Westbrook had 13 points, 16 rebounds and 11 steals for his 111th career triple-double. Steven Adams added 19 points and Dennis Schroder scored 18 for the Thunder.

Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis had 16 points apiece to lead Chicago. Markkanen adding 15 rebounds.

Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (42) is held back after a scuffle in front of the Oklhoma City Thunder bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Chicago Bulls center Robin Lopez (42) is held back after a scuffle in front of the Oklhoma City Thunder bench in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

Westbrook secured the triple-double by threading a pass in the lane to a driving Hamidou Diallo, who finished with a reverse layup as he was knocked to the court and fouled with just over six minutes remaining.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) gets into a scuffle with Chicago Bull center Robin Lopez in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) gets into a scuffle with Chicago Bull center Robin Lopez in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

The Thunder sped into the lead with a 21-3 run that erased a 15-10 deficit. But the Bulls quickly reeled off a 19-8 run of their own and closed the gap to two points.

From there, the Thunder took control, building a comfortable lead thanks to George’s 6-for-6 shooting to close to the half.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant, center, scuffles with Chicago Bull center Robin Lopez (42) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant, center, scuffles with Chicago Bull center Robin Lopez (42) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

The game was halted for several minutes with 4:27 left in the second quarter after a melee broke out near the Thunder bench when Chicago’s Cameron Payne fouled Terrance Ferguson and, nearly simultaneously, Westbrook and Kris Dunn exchanged pushes.

Eventually the shoving matches spilled into the front row between the bench and the scorer’s table, with Robin Lopez and Jerami Grant locking up.

Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis (5) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Chicago Bulls forward Bobby Portis (5) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

Eventually, Westbrook and Grant were assessed technical fouls for Oklahoma City, while Dunn and Lopez were whistled for technicals for the Bulls.

Chicago Bulls guard Cameron Payne (22) shoots around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel (3) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Chicago Bulls guard Cameron Payne (22) shoots around Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel (3) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

TIP-INS

Bulls: Jabari Parker, who didn’t play in Saturday’s win over San Antonio after falling out of the rotation, missed the game with a stomach illness. . The Bulls turned the ball over 11 times in the first half. . Robin Lopez’s ejection with two third-quarter technicals was the ninth of his career and the first of this season.

Chicago Bulls guard Shaquille Harrison (3) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Patrick Patterson (54) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Chicago Bulls guard Shaquille Harrison (3) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder forward Patrick Patterson (54) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

Thunder: Paul George’s second quarter gave him double-figure scoring in one quarter for the eighth time in seven games. . The Thunder shot 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc in the second quarter and outscored Chicago 33-22. . Russell Westbrook and George are Nos. 1 and 2 in the league in steals per game. Westbrook had five Monday, while George added three.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Nerlens Noel (3) tries to block a shot by Chicago Bulls' Robin Lopez (42) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Nerlens Noel (3) tries to block a shot by Chicago Bulls’ Robin Lopez (42) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

THUNDER PICK UP DONOVAN’S OPTION

Before the game, the Thunder exercised its fifth-year option on the contract of head coach Billy Donovan.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) goes up to shoot in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jerami Grant (9) goes up to shoot in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

Donovan is in his fourth season with Oklahoma City, going 169-106, with playoff appearances in his first three seasons.

“I’m grateful, appreciative and thankful for Mr. (Clay) Bennett and Sam (Presti),” Donovan said before the game, referencing the Thunder’s chairman and general manager. “I get a chance to coach a great group of guys. I’ve had incredible support from Sam and the people inside the organization.”

Oklahoma Thunder forward Paul George (13) shoots over Chicago Bulls center Lauri Markkanen (24) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma Thunder forward Paul George (13) shoots over Chicago Bulls center Lauri Markkanen (24) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

UP NEXT

Oklahoma Thunder center Steven Adams (12) goes up for a dunk over Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma Thunder center Steven Adams (12) goes up for a dunk over Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

Bulls: Home against Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Thunder: At Sacramento on Wednesday.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) tries to keep the ball away from Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) tries to keep the ball away from Chicago Bulls guard Kris Dunn in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Monday, Dec. (AP Photo/Kyle Phillips)

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Source: The Associated Press

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