Bulls-Nuggets Preview

Denver Nuggets Status Check:
Record: 26-23
Division: 3-7
Conference: 14-22
Road Record: 11-11
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 117-100 loss to Minnesota
PPG: 103.6 (1st)
Opponents PPG: 102.5 (29th)
Offensive Rating: 107.6 (6th)
Defensive Rating: 106.5 (23rd)
Pace: 94.7 (1st)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .510 (4th)
Turnover Percentage: .145 (21st)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .753 (2nd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .270 (17th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .252 (3rd)
Opp. eFG%: .511 (27th)
Opp. TO%: .142 (12th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .189 (6th)
Leading scorer: Danilo Gallinari (15.2)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Denver Injury Report:
Rudy Fernandez: out for season (back surgery)
Danilo Gallinari: out indefinitely (broken left thumb)
Kosta Koufos: missed Sunday’s game (knee tendinitis)

Overview:
For the Bulls fifth straight game the Bulls will get an opponent playing on the tail end of a back-to-back; this time it’s the Denver Nuggets. This will be the only time the Bulls and Nuggets meet this season.

Chicago needs to avoid coming out flat after their emotional last second (actually tenth of a second) win over the Raptors. Luol Deng finished the game 23 points, ten rebounds, four assists and one game winning basket. Carlos Boozer had another double-double, going for 24 points and ten rebounds (he was 11-19 from the field).

C.J. Watson scored 23 points in Derrick Rose’s absence and Omer Asik had ten points and seven rebounds in Joakim Noah’s absence. Noah will be extra rested, after getting ejected from the game (he played 12 minutes before getting tossed). It was just the sixth time in Asik’s career that he scored ten or more points.

The Bulls couldn’t hit anything from beyond the arc, going 3-23 from deep. Deng was 0-6 from three, Watson 2-6, John Lucas 0-4 and Kyle Korver 1-5. In their defense, it was really foggy inside the United Center, so they could barely see the basket. Wait, it wasn’t? OK they were just terrible from deep, never mind.

Chicago did counter-act their ineptness from deep by scoring 64 points in the paint, even with Noah scoring just two points.

And while Chicago has been rolling lately, Denver has struggled as of late, going just 4-6 in their last ten games. Over their last four games, the Nuggets have allowed their opponent to score 112, 115, 121 and 117 points. Denver is 29th in opponents’ points per game (102.5). And though they give up a lot of points, they are first in scoring (103.6 points per game).

The Nuggets are currently in a three-way tie for seventh place in the West, with Utah (who they just recently lost to) and Houston. The playoff battle in the West is going to be crazy, so Denver is battling for their postseason chances every night. On the other hand, Chicago secured the first playoff spot this postseason with their win over the Raptors.

Kenneth Faried continued to impress in his rookie season, scoring 17 points on 8-13 shooting against the Wolves. In his fourth game this season, Wilson Chandler went for 13 points on 5-11 shooting. Chandler has been starting for the injured Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari is expected to miss tonight’s game as well.

New addition JaVale McGee scored 13 points and grabbed eleven rebounds in his 25 minutes of action.

Ty Lawson logged the most minutes, playing 37. Corey Brewer (33), Faried (30) and Chandler (33) were the only other players with more than 30 minutes of playing time.

The Bulls should once again be the more rested team, unless Thibs made them run a marathon for going into overtime with the Raptors (who were without DeMar DeRozan and on the tail end of a back-to-back).

Denver is 11-11 on the road this season, losing their last two. They are in the midst of a seven game road trip.

Rose is probably going to miss tonight’s game as well. Chicago is 12-4 without their star point guard, who is itching to get back.

“It’s definitely hard but, at the same time I’m happy they are playing great. We’re winning games,” Rose said. “Of course I want to be out there. I hate being injured, but right now we’re in a good groove.”

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