The end of the Circus Trip has given way to an extended homestand, which continues on Wednesday night as the Bulls host the Denver Nuggets at the United Center. A win would tie the Bulls with the Indiana Pacers for the second best record in the Eastern Conference.
Denver is struggling, having lost seven straight. This is the third contest in a five-game road trip for the Nuggets, who haven't won since beating New Orleans to improve to 6-5. Now Denver is 6-12 and in desperate need of a win.
The Bulls have been winning, but the victories aren't always convincing. Chicago's current point differential is + 0.6, which is the ninth best in the conference. This would be a good time for the Bulls to flex their muscles offensively and blow out an inferior opponent. Over the last two seasons, we've learned things are rarely that easy.
This is a meeting of two of the worst offenses in the NBA. The Bulls enter the game at No. 27 in offensive efficiency, ahead of only the Nets, Lakers and 76ers. The Nuggets are No. 26. The Bulls enter as No. 25 in true shooting percentage, while the Nuggets are only one spot better.
Where the Bulls have a clear edge is on the defensive end. The Bulls are No. 6 in defensive efficiency while Denver is No. 25.
The Bulls enter the game at 6-1 at home. The most intriguing matchup could come in the backcourt, where Derrick Rose will meet Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay.
Mudiay, at just 19 years old, looks something like a younger version of Rose. Like Rose, Mudiay was a top ranked recruit who entered the NBA one year after graduating high school. Like Rose, he's a power guard (and bigger than Derrick at 6'5, 200 pounds) who thrives driving the ball to the rim. The Bulls will be trying to force Mudiay into mistakes, as he enters the game averaging the fourth most turnovers in the league at four per game.
The game tips off at 7 p.m. locally on WGN.