Bulls vs Nuggets 7pm on CSN/NBATV

The Chicago Bulls will still be missing Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton but caught a break when Joakim Noah wasn't suspended following an ejection for throwing a ball at an official when the Bulls squeaked by Toronto on Saturday. They take on a Denver Nuggets team also missing their best player in Danilo Gallinari after trading away one of their core guys (Nene) for a project (McGee).

Denver has been slaughtered its last two games, both on the road, and desperately needs a win to stay in a tight playoff race which presently has them in a there way tie for 7th with Phoenix just a half game back in 10th while Minnesota and Portland are still within striking distance of the playoffs themselves.

Denver can score plenty, but they're terrible defensively, particularly in guarding the three point line. The question is whether or not the Bulls can take advantage of that weakness or not. The Nuggets will look to turn this into a high possession ball game and try to outscore Chicago.

The Bulls may be better served slowing the tempo down and forcing Denver to execute in the half court instead, especially given that they're missing their most effective transition player in Rose.

Denver will shoot themselves in or out of a game

The Nuggets like to jack up three point shots despite hitting only a shade over 32% of them as a team. Now teams that jack up tons of threes are prone to the game where their shooters are on making them extremely difficult to defeat, but more often then not will shoot themselves out of the game.

The Bulls shouldn't give up open threes, but they should look to shut down the paint as a priority rather than looking to shut down the perimeter shooting of the Nuggets. Aaron Afflalo is the only shooter near 40%, sitting just a shade under at 38 and change, most of their shooters are hovering in the 33% range.

Bang them up inside

The Denver frontcourt is full of foul prone players when it comes to protecting the basket. Both McGee and Mozgov will hack guys plenty due to inexperience and improper positioning. If Chicago is able to penetrate around the rim or feed the ball in low, they should make it to the free throw line plenty for cheap points.

Focus, focus, focus

The Bulls came out flat two games in a row, and in their past, this has typically meant a loss is coming. It seems like rather than being scared straight by a near loss, they get more complacent that they'll find some miracle to bail them out. Granted, without Rose the Bulls are probably due for a couple of defeats unless you believe they'd really be 60 win team in a full season without Derrick in the lineup.

The Bulls should get this game

Of course the Bulls are still missing their best player and another starter, but the Nuggets are missing their best player as well and have been crushed in their past two road games. They're still adjusting to new teammates and haven't put together the chemistry yet. The Bulls will need to be do all the little things, but as long as they're ready to play they should find a way to win the game.

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  • Bulls should win this, Nuggets have been a big disappointment. The defensive boost they got after losing Melo and Billups last year seems to well and truly have worn off.

    Looking forward to seeing Faried vs Boozer, Farried is the steal of the draft (which is stupid since everyone knew he was going to be the steal of the draft before the draft yet he fell anyway).

  • Off topic but Amare out indefinitely with a bulging disc in his back. Just when Amare was starting to play well enough that they wouldn't even trade him for Boozer he's gone and overtaken him for worst contract in the NBA again.

  • Denver looks like a more talented/athletic version of the Bulls(without Rose), a good head coach and yet they are struggling. That shows the effect of good defensive schemes and team play rather than individual talent.

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    I think their center position being weak really hurts them. It's quite a downgrade from Noah/Asik to Mozgov/McGee. Even before the trade Nene wasn't playing that well.

  • Can Thibs be so stubborn about Deng. He is basically struggling and he doesn't sub him/Brewer with a combo of Korver/Butler for a few minutes. This is what Thibs did in the Miami series by not giving Deng rest as it has been mentioned a million times in this blog. Deng is definitely not himself after the injury and Thibs is making it worse by not giving him in-game breaks..

  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    The only problem I have with Deng's minutes right now is that they're above 0. I'd be happy to sit him out for a couple of weeks and see if it helps the wrist any, because out there on the court he's not helping right now.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    That said watching how the Nuggets are guarding Jimmy Butler on the three point line (read: not at all) you can see why Thibs plays Deng rather than him.

  • How on earth do you shoot 13/20 from three and lose by 17? Absolutely garbage defense and rebounding. Oh and of course the post game guys are saying it shows what Rose means to the Bulls ...

  • We need a milk carton to find Deng's game, I cant see how an injury to your none shooting hand effects your game that much. I'm starting to hate when they put the Bulls on national tv because they seem to look bad most of the time.

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