Congratulations to Steve Nash for completely jinxing the Bulls before their game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.
This out-of-nowhere compliment came just about 24 hours before an epic Chicago Bulls collapse against the Portland Trail Blazers team. A loss reminiscent of previous iterations of Chicago Bulls squads that we’re all trying to remove from our collective memory.
I was unable to catch that game, but did see the halftime score. I was on a long drive and was fully preparing to write a tweet about how I couldn’t remember even those Derrick Rose-led teams at the peak of his powers playing as good on the always brutal West Coast road trips as the 2021-2022 have so far. Suffice it to say, I was shocked when I got home and saw the final score. So, I can’t imagine the experience of actually watching it happen live.
If you include the home victory against the Dallas Mavericks, the Bulls would have been 4-1 against some of the best teams in the Western Conference, and at worst go a very respectable 4-2 if they were to lose to the Nuggets. Now, if they lose against the Nuggets they’ll be 3-3 in this games against Western Conference powerhouses and 2-3 in the games on the actual West Coast (so not including the home game against the Mavericks). Not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it would still feel like a missed opportunity.
There’s still some work to be done on the trip though with a stop in Denver against the 9-6 Nuggets. The Bulls have showed the ability to bounce back after tough losses. They bounced the Utah Jazz after that tough loss against the New York Knicks on Jo Noah night. The followed up two bad losses against the 76ers with back-to-back wins against the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks. And after getting trounced by the Golden State Warriors in by far the most humbling loss of the season, the Bulls proceeded to win back-to-back games at the Staples Center (I refuse to call it by the new lame name).
The difference between this year and other years is that the 2021-2022 Bulls bounce back from tough losses while previous versions of this team would probably have gone on extended losing streaks. So, while it’s a tough test in the Mile High City, the Bulls still have a really good shot to come out with a win.
The Nuggets played last night, though it was at home too. It was a shocking blowout loss to a very shorthanded Sixers team.
People who have covered the Nuggets over the past few years know how this story goes.— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) November 19, 2021
Losing on the first night of a back to back against a banged up and worse team in Philly and following with a statement win over the Bulls is the most Nuggets thing possible. https://t.co/hjFd4CVlFe
This entire preview hinges on Nikola Jokic’s availability. The Nuggets are down a couple major pieces lately (Murray, Porter) but with Jokic they can still beat anybody, especially an undersized team like the Vuc-less Bulls.
But he has shown up on the injury report today.
Early injury report: Nikola Jokic (wrist sprain) is questionable. Will Barton (back) and Bones Hyland (ankle) are probable. Zeke Nnaji (ankle) out.— Mike Singer (@msinger) November 19, 2021
For the Bulls, no changes.
Game Time: NBC Sports Chicago; 8:00 p.m. CDT