The Chicago Bulls dropped a second straight game Sunday night in a 126-103 blowout at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. They are now 6-8 on the season and fell to 11th in the Eastern Conference.
Here are five takeaways from the loss.
1. The Bulls were rusty after three days off.
After four back-to-backs in the opening three weeks, the Bulls were grateful to catch their breath with a three-day break from games. But the team showed signs of rust early Sunday, digging themselves into yet another early-game deficit and getting outscored 32-20 in the first quarter.
The Bulls turned the ball over six times in the first quarter, providing free ammunition to the hot-handed Nuggets who shot 60% from the field. The starting unit fell flat in the face of the early Denver pace, forcing their bench reserves to once again stage an attempted comeback.
“I believe energy is a choice,” coach Billy Donovan said. “You can’t play off of feelings, because feelings come and go. You’ve got to eliminate feelings and choose to do things. We have a choice with what kind of energy to play with and circumstances cannot impact or effect our energy. We’ve got to choose energy, because that’s all it is. It’s a choice.”
2. Nikola Jokić picks apart the Bulls defense with dazzling passes, but Michael Porter Jr. leads scoring.
The two-time NBA MVP didn’t need to score much to control the game for the Nuggets. Jokić commanded the court with his passing, logging 14 assists in just under 28 minutes before sitting most of the fourth quarter. He tallied 12 assists by the end of the first half in only 18 minutes.
With Jokić taking a facilitating role, Porter led the Nuggets in scoring. Porter scored 16 points in the third quarter to cement the loss for the Bulls, finishing 6-for-9 from behind the arc with 31 points.
3. The Bulls’ lack of 3-point shooting creates a mismatch behind the arc.
The 3-point line has been a weak point for the Bulls on both sides of the court — and that trend continued.
The Nuggets shot 13-for-27 (48%) from behind the arc while the Bulls were only 6-for-22 (27%). The disparity was highlighted in the first half, when the Bulls made only two 3-pointers on 17% shooting.
The Bulls can’t keep pace with opponents if they continue to struggle to defend the 3-point line and make shots from behind it.
The Nuggets are an …read more
Source:: The Mercury News