The Bulls are riding high, on a wonderful 3-game run beating the Hornets, Knicks and then top-seeded Brooklyn Nets last week. Those last two were part of a mini road trip in NYC, they now return home to face the Nuggets.
The Nuggets are having an unfortunate season. While they wait for Jamal Murray to return from his torn ACL, they have since also lost Michael Porter to a backeyotomy for potentially the rest of this season. Defending MVP Nikola Jokic missed 4 games in November where they lost all of them, and altogether the group has been fairly average: 16th in Offense, 15th in Defense.
I won’t bother breaking down those stats for when Jokic is active, but I assume it’s better. Since his return, they’ve won 2 of 3, where sandwiched in between was a weird loss in Orlando. Their last game was a drubbing of the Knicks at home, something the Bulls also participated in recently.
And one of those 4 losses Jokic missed was against the Bulls in Denver, where the rest of the Nuggets were impressively resilient (Aaron Gordon played out of his mind) but the Bulls ultimately pulled away in the 2nd half.
These Bulls have shown they can beat anybody and also lose to anybody as well. I mean...that’s not very unique among NBA teams, even the very good ones. It’s cool to put Chicago in that context now.
But the Bulls look especially vulnerable to size and shooting from the PF and Center spot...and here comes Jokic.
Alex Caruso is listed as doubtful and is very unlikely to play as he gave his hamstring strain a go on Saturday but could only play for a few minutes before being pulled. Javonte Green and Coby White remain out in COVID protocols.
For the Nuggets, they also have COVID suppressing their depth as both Bones Hyland and Austin Rivers are out for them. Bol Bol doesn’t play much, and also won’t tonight as he’s also out with COVID. Also missing since their last time these two teams met is PJ Dozier, who unfortunately (again, the word of the Nuggets season) tore his ACL and is out until next season.
Game Time: 7pm, NBC Sports Chicago