To begin their annual circus road trip, the Chicago Bulls headed to higher altitudes to take on the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets got the best of the Bulls by taking the 97-87 win.
Jimmy Butler sat out the Thursday night matchup after suffering a turf toe injury in Chicago’s 86-81 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday, Nov. 18. Mike Dunleavy started in his place.
For the majority of the first quarter, both teams were evenly matched. They exchanged shots, and the difference in the score was never larger than two points.
When the second quarter rolled around, there was a more evident change. Denver’s bench lifted their team up to gain a solid lead. At halftime, the Nuggets had 23 bench points while the Bulls had a mere 3 points coming from the bench.
However, Chicago was able to stay in the game due to their presence on the boards. Overall, Denver was outdone in terms of offensive rebounding, as they were out-rebounded 12-6. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah made the largest impacts by attaining four and five offensive rebounds, respectively. This combination of the offensive glass work and the Bulls’ 6-0 run to end the first half brought them within two points of the Nuggets: 48-50.
Unfortunately for Chicago, Denver stayed ahead from that point on. The Bulls never really got into a good offensive rhythm, and they weren’t really able to score either. In the third quarter, they scored a total of 14 points. The fourth quarter did differ a bit though, but in both good and bad ways.
The Bulls and their fans experienced what it was like to be on the opposing side of former Bull Nate Robinson’s hot shooting. To open the final period, Robinson hit back-to-back threes to give his Nuggets a 14-point lead, but he wasn’t the only Nuggets who would be succeeding from behind the arc.
Jordan Hamilton, Darrell Arthur and Ty Lawson each made a three of their own. As a result, the Bulls deficit became 17 points. Dunleavy did get his shots to fall though. Of his 15 points, 11 of them came in the fourth quarter. It just wasn’t enough to make a comeback though.
To lead all players, Derrick Rose had 19 points to go along with four rebounds and four assists. Boozer posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Noah also had a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Bulls, now 6-4, will complete their back-to-back series against the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, Nov. 22 at 9 p.m. central.