BULLS COOK NUGGETS
The Bulls came into this game against the Denver Nuggets massively shorthanded. Already missing Coby White and Javonte Green due to Health and Safety Protocols, it was confirmed that DeMar DeRozan had also entered it just 2 hours before tip-off and this coming just hours after he was announced Eastern Player of the Week. Coupled with the news that Alex Caruso will be re - assessed in a week due to his hamstring injury it seemed like it was going to be a tough go for the Bulls but this led to Ayo Dosunmu and Derrick Jones Jr.'s first start this season Either way both teams are massively shorthanded coming into this game as the Bulls enter 16-8 whilst Nuggets are 11-11.
A poor 1st quarter from the Bulls saw them finish down 27-18 and an early check in from Matt Thomas shows the Bulls struggles in the first quarter. The offence really struggling as they go 2-11 on 3s and no trips to the Free Throw line where as Denver was 5-9 from 3 and a couple of trips to the line.
Into the second and the Bulls come out fighting with some good looks from 3 for Lonzo Ball and tie the game 27-27 in less than 2 minutes into the quarter while also getting to the line early in the quarter. Bulls actually getting in the bonus with 8 minutes left and they take their first lead around the same time in the quarter. But after taking the lead the Bulls can't seem to hit a bucket taking difficult shots and not offering much defensively and soon find themselves down by 11 but they claw back and they finish the half only down by three at 49-46.
Lavine 14 pts
Ball 14 pts
Barton 13 pts
Jokic 7 pts, 9 rebs, 7 assists
Both teams shooting under 37%
Bulls start the second half with Jones Jr dropping a big 3 to tie it up and they take the lead but once again ,after a 7-0 run by the Nuggets, can't keep it with the ball not dropping continuing the inconsistent shooting from both teams. Bulls finish the 3rd up 77-71 after LaVine initiated take over mode dropping big 3s and getting to the rim in his usual spectacular fashion finishing with 12 third quarter points.
Bulls start the 4th with a couple of missed buckets but a huge 3 from Lonzo Ball and a flagrant foul from Green gave him a 4 point play. Shortly after the inbound the Bulls score again putting them up by 10. After some solid D we see the return of the SHOWTIME BULLS and a 15 point lead with 6 minutes left and none other than Chicago native Ayo Dosunmu at the centre of it all lobbing it around like a seasoned vet. Bulls empty their bench with a minute to go allowing some playing time for Dotson and Simonivic and the Bulls win 109-97. Bulls have an Eastern Conference-high 17 victories after defeating the Nuggets
LaVine 32 pts, 8 assists
Ball 20 pts, 10 rebs, 4 assists, 4 blocks
Vucevic 20 pts, 10 rebs
Dosunmu 11 pts, 8 assists, 6 rebs
Jokic 17 pts, 15 assists, 12 rebs
Having to play through adversity it was a scrappy game from both teams, poor shooting from both and it led to a very back and forth game. However the Bulls came through when it was needed with LaVine taking over in the 3rd in DeMar's absence as well as the 4th quarter Prince Ayo Dosunmu helping see the game out. Lonzo Ball had a solid game as he stepped up to become the PG Bulls needed on this night finishing with a double double and his usual pesky defensive play. Ayo Dosunmu in his 1st start recorded 41 minutes of play and was central to the SHOWTIME BULLS turning up.
(Should Coby White be worried?)
Overall this has to go down as one of the best Bulls wins of the season. Not their best performance, but a great win with everything that happened coming into it.
Up next the Cleveland Cavaliers after a couple days rest.
-Matt H. (Twitter:@matthearn1)