Murray and Jokić lead Denver in OT win over the Bulls (Denver, CO) – After losing a 23 point lead in their last game against the Spurs, the Bulls had a great opportunity to bounce back against the Denver Nuggets.
The Bulls were competitive in their last matchup with Denver on March 1st, but they ultimately lost 118-112. Nikola Jokić was dominant in that game with 39 points, 14 rebounds and 9 assists. Chicago cannot allow Jokić to control the game like that tonight if they want a different outcome
Bench leads Bulls to 1st half advantage
Denver started off up 7-3, but Chicago made four consecutive shots to take the lead at 14-7, with 7 minutes left in the 1st. The Bulls controlled those final 7 minutes, as they led 30-20 going into the 2nd. Chicago had 12 bench points in the quarter and five different players also hit a three-pointer.
The Bulls led 38-23 early in the 2nd, but Denver responded with a 14-4 run. That stretch reduced the Chicago lead to 42-37 with 5.5 minutes left. After going scoreless in the 1st quarter, Jokić scored 9 in the 2nd to keep Denver within striking distance. Chicago led 55-47 going into the 2nd half.
The difference in the 1st half was the Bulls bench, as they outscored Denver’s 27-15. Chicago also shot 8/16(50%) from the three-point line, compared to Denver going 5/16(31%) from three. Nobody scored in double figures, but Zach LaVine, Lauri Markannen and Otto Porter Jr. all had 8 points.
LaVine and Jokić find their groove
The 3rd quarter started off very similar to the 2nd. The Bulls jumped out to an early 61-49 lead, but Denver went on a run to reduce their deficit to 66-60. LaVine responded with back-to-back threes, putting the Bulls up 72-60 with 6 minutes remaining. LaVine scored 11 in the quarter, but Jokić matched that with 10 of his own. Chicago led 89-81 going into the 4th
Murray scores 15 in 4th, sends game into OT
Jamal Murray hit a three early in the 4th to cut the Bulls lead to 91-87. Chicago countered with a timely 12-2 stretch to go up 103-89, with 8 minutes left in the game. Coby White was a big part of this run, as he scored 8 points in the first four minutes of the period.
White was later called for a flagrant foul, which led to a four point possession for Denver. Jokic and Murray scored on the next two plays for the Nuggets, to cut the Bulls lead to 103-97. Denver later took the lead at 108-107 with 3 minutes, behind a three from Murray.
Porter Jr. hit a huge three pointer to regain the Bulls lead at 110-108 and LaVine followed that up the next possession with a jumper. These clutch shots gave Chicago a 112-108 advantage with 1 minute left. Jokić kept Denver’s hopes alive with a three-pointer, which made it 114-111 with 30 seconds left. LaVine turned the ball over the next possession, which gave Denver a chance. Murray capitalized, hitting a three to send the game into OT at 116-116.
Nuggets strike first, win in OT
Denver scored the first 9 points of OT, which put them up 125-116 with 2.5 minutes left. Chicago responded with seven straight points, to make it 125-123 with 1 minute left. Murray hit the dagger, to put Denver up 131-127 with 10 seconds left. That ended up being the final score of the game, as the Nuggets won.
Holding onto large leads has been a problem for the Bulls all season and it haunted them again tonight. Chicago was up by 14 at one point in the 4th quarter, but allowed Denver back in the game. Jokic and Murray led the Denver comeback, as they scored 37 of the team’s 50 4th quarter and OT points.
LaVine led the Bulls with 32 and 4 assists, with Porter Jr. adding 22 points.
Denver (25-16) will look to extend their 3 game win streak against the Pelicans (17-24) on Sunday at 2pm CT.
Chicago (18-22) hopes to end their 2 game losing streak against the Pistons (12-29) on Sunday at 6pm CT.
Murray and Jokić lead Denver in OT win over the Bulls