The Denver Nuggets were in town on a stormy Tuesday night in Chicago as they faced off against the Bulls at the United Center.
It was a tough night at the office for Bulls star Jimmy Butler. The 3-time All-Star never got going, shooting 3-for-13 from the floor and only registering 8 points. Butler only attempted two free throws and was a -20 for the Bulls.
The Bulls struggled defensively as they simply had no answers for Nikola Jokic and Danilo Gallinari. Center Nikola Jokic registered a Triple Double with 19 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. The big man connected on all 3 of his three-point attempts. Gallinari pitched in 22 points while shooting 70% from the floor (7-of-10) while also hitting 3 three-pointers.
Bulls draft pick, Gary Harris, had 15 in his starting role, while Wilson Chandler and longtime NBA vet Jameer Nelson combined for 32. Denver had 7 players score in double figures, while the Bulls only had 4.
Jerian Grant got the start and only played 12 minutes, scoring 7 points on just 2 shot attempts. While Gar Forman and John Paxson stressed the importance of the younger players getting minutes, it was Rajon Rondo who was first off of the bench for Fred Hoiberg. Rondo had a solid effort off of the bench in 24 minutes with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Rondo was aggressive offensively connecting on 8 of his 15 shots. While Denzel Valentine did play 27 minutes, the rookie struggled to get going offensively shooting 1-of-5 from the three-point line. Valentine had just 7 points after 2 double figure scoring games in a row. Bobby Portis once again got the starting nod, scoring 12 points in 27 minutes, while Nikola Mirotic was unable to find shots. Mirotic was only took 4 shots, scoring 6 points.
Dwyane Wade was Dwyane Wade in this one. The 35 year old was the only consistent Bulls on offensive with 19 points.
Cameron Payne was not able to find minutes in the second half of the Bulls win in Cleveland on Saturday night. Fred Hoiberg assured fans and media that Payne would get a shot to play in the second half vs Denver, and Fred followed through on his promise. Payne checked in in the second quarter, however was not much of a factor. The newly acquired Bull came back into the game to play in the 4th quarter, however his shot was still off. Payne shot just 2-of-10 from the floor, and only dished out 3 assists. Payne is mainly playing off of the ball, as Rondo and Payne shared a lot of the same minutes. Hoiberg may want to give Payne the chance of running the offense to see if the 22 year old can facilitate at the point guard position.
After keeping with Denver for the first half, the Nuggets took over in the second half of this one. Denver went on a run in the 3rd quarter and never looked bad as they lead by 8 heading into the final frame. The Nuggets wound up running through the bulls in the 4th, winning 125-107. Isaiah Canaan was the only Bull to not get in the game.
The Bulls will look to continue their impressive TNT Home game winning streak against the league's best Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.