[Thanks to slowmotion for today's game preview -yfbb]
Tonight the Bulls go for two in a row against the Nuggets, coming off of a four game winning streak and an overtime win against the Lakers. After a horrid 1-6 start to the season, the 6-7 Nuggets are now back to relevancy in the tough Western Conference.
Since replacing George Karl last year, Brian Shaw has employed an anti-Thibs approach to minutes distribution with a 10 deep roster. Kenneth Faried (12/7/1/53.3%), rewarded with a max contract extension after an impressive FIBA run, ranks just fourth on the team in minutes played at 26.3 mpg. Denver ranks 4th in pace, and playing at altitude on the second night of a back to back may be a factor for the Bulls in this game.
Shaqtin a Fool MVP Javale McGee is likely out tonight with a tibia injury as well as Randy Foye with a quad tear. The injury to Foye means we should see a matchup of rookie counterfactuals, with McDermott playing against trade counterparts Gary Harris and Jusuf Nurkic.
Nurkic had an excellent game in a preseason Bulls win, and fans in Denver are similarly pleased with Harris' play. McDermott has thus far been a disaster for the Bulls with a 4.8 PER and 23.1% 3pt, but perhaps his 16 point outburst against Denver this preseason will give him some much needed confidence entering tonight's game.
Bulls to keep an eye on tonight are Derrick Rose, who looked tentative in his return to action vs. Utah, and Nikola Mirotic, who has seen his minutes climb as a result of the injury to Taj Gibson.
Denver is favored tonight by just two points, with the line jumping in the Bulls favor from -4. Tonight's game could go either way and should be a good one. Let's get it done tonight guys!