LaVine’s 32 points was too much for Denver to overcome
While both teams were without key pieces tonight it was still a great game. The Chicago Bulls won in a valiant effort, 109-97 was the final score. The Bulls leading scorer was Zach LaVine with 32, both Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic had 20 points as well. Ayo Dosunmu and LaVine had career-high assists with 8 apiece, Jokic also had a season-high 15 assists. The Denver Nuggets leading scorers were Will Barton and Monte Morris who each had 19. Every Nugget starter finished with 15 or more points, it still was not enough. Jokic had 17 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan was a late scratch for the game tonight after entering the NBA’s Health and Safety protocols a few hours before tip-off. Bulls rookie and Illinois native Ayo Dosunmu, got his first career start for the Bulls tonight in DeRozan’s place. Dosunmu played 42 minutes in his starting debut, he had a fantastic game.
Will Barton opened things off with a three and Nikola Vucevic responded with one of his own. The Bulls were doubling Nikola Jokic to start the first quarter but quickly realized that he’ll find the open man every single time. They continued to double him for the rest of the first quarter anyways. The Bulls held Jokic to 5 points in the 1st quarter, he had 4 assists and a handful of hockey assists/passes to fouls though. The Nuggets won the first quarter 27-18.
Dimes are being dropped pic.twitter.com/AWdxFINYkA
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) December 7, 2021
The Bulls opened the second quarter by going on a 9-0 run on the Nuggets bench. The Nuggets only scored 3 points during the entirety of Nikola Jokic’s time on the bench. Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball started to get things going in the 2nd, they led the Bulls to their first lead of the game. Once Jokic was back on the court the Nuggets started to play better. He found Jeff Green and Monte Morris for corner threes in back-to-back possessions starting a 13-0 run for the Nuggets.
The Nuggets were up by as many as 11 points in the 2nd but let the lead slip towards the end of the quarter as the Bulls ended on a 10-2 run. The second quarter was a game of runs. 49-46 in favor of the Nuggets at halftime.
The Nuggets came out from the half struggling to score and, once again, the Bulls went on a 7-0 run. Both teams are just taking turns scoring I guess. Ayo Dosunmu showed great energy and was being quite a pest on the defensive end, it’s great to see a hometown kid play great in his starting debut.
Jokic had a triple-double through 3rd quarters. He went into 8th all-time in triple-doubles passing the great Larry Bird.
Zach LaVine was taking over the game in the 3rd quarter, the Nuggets managed to keep it within a few points though. LaVine had 12 points in the 3rd alone. The Bulls were up by as many as 9 points but the Nuggets were able to cut it down to 6 behind a last-second 3 from Aaron Gordon. 77-71 Bulls up going into the 4th.
The Nuggets opened the 4th quarter off by giving up a rare 6 point play (Lonzo and-1 three followed by a flagrant foul leading to a Tony Bradley dunk). With Jokic off the court the Nuggets struggled again, Bulls lead swells to 13. Jokic had a career-high in assists. The Bulls started to pull away early in the 4th and once the momentum was in their favor, they never looked back.
The Nuggets will put this loss behind them and will take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday 12/8 at 6:00 PM MST. It should be an easy win.