Jokic scores 17 in the 4th, leads Nuggets past Bulls (Chicago, IL) – The Bulls came into their game against the Nuggets on Monday night well-rested, with their game on Sunday against the Raptors being postponed due to contact tracing.
Chicago had their first winning record during a month since December of 2017, in February as they went 8-6. In order to build onto that momentum, the Bulls have to triumph against Denver and perhaps the most versatile player in the league, Nikola Jokic. Jokic is the one of only two players in the league to lead his team in total points, rebounds and assists.
Jokic, Nuggets dominate the paint in 1st half
Jokic put his fingerprints on the game early on, as he had 2 points, 2 blocks, 6 rebounds and 3 assists all within the first six minutes of the game. Denver jumped out to a 18-7 lead, as the Bulls started off 1/10 from the field. Chicago improved to shoot 10/22(45%) in the quarter, but the Nuggets went on a 7-0 run to end the 1st. Denver led 37-25 going into the 2nd
Denver earned their largest lead of the game at 47-32 within the first three minutes of the 2nd quarter. Chicago responded with a timely 7-0 stretch, to make it 47-39 with 6 minutes left. Jokic countered that by scoring 8 of Denver’s next 12 points, to extend their lead to 59-46. The Bulls ended the quarter on a 9-3 run, with Denver leading 62-55 going into halftime.
Jokic led the Nuggets with 16 points, 6 assists and 8 rebounds, but Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray also combined to score 27 points in the first half. Lavine led the Bulls with 12 points, 4 assists and 5 rebounds. The main difference in the 1st half was points in the paint: 36-20 advantage by the Nuggets.
White chips into the Nuggets lead
After only turning the ball over four times in the first half, Denver turned it over 4 times in the 3rd quarter. For the Bulls, they had no steals in the first half, but had five in the 3rd. The Nuggets led by 12 at multiple points in the period, but the extra possessions helped the Bulls to stay connected. Chicago also reached a season high in fastbreak points at 24 and Coby White scored 11 of his 15 points in the quarter. Denver led 89-87 going into the 4th
Jokic leads Nuggets to victory
The Bulls started off the quarter with an 8-0 run to lead for the first time since they were up 1-0 in the 1st. Chicago led 95-89 with 9 minutes left, but Jokic responded with 10 straight points. His efforts tied the game at 99-99, with 5 minutes left. White gave the Bulls a 104-101 lead with a three-pointer, but Murray hit one right after to tie the game again at 104 with 3.5 minutes left.
The Nuggets and Bulls continued to change leads back and forth in the final minutes of the game. Murray gave Denver some breathing room with another three pointer, to give them a 112-108 lead with 1.5 minutes left. Denver won the game, 118-112.
Jokic scored 17 of his 39 points in the 4th quarter, to go along with 14 rebounds and 9 assists. Porter Jr also had a double-double, with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Murray added 24 points
The bench played well again for the Bulls, with a 39-17 scoring advantage over Denver. Lavine led the Chicago with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists, with Coby White adding 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Denver (19-15) will play their next game tomorrow at 8pm CT, against the Bucks (21-13).
Chicago (15-18) will play against the Pelicans (14-19) on Wednesday at 7pm CT.
Jokic scores 17 in the 4th, leads Nuggets past Bulls