That sputtering sound you hear isn't your neighbor's car trying to turn over.
That would be the Bulls bench tonight, who were outscored by the Nuggets 48 to 19. They are now 1-13 in their last 14 trips to Denver, with their last win coming back on February 8th, 2006. Although the Bulls hung with the Nuggets early behind 19 flurrying points from Derrick Rose, the Nuggets played solid defense and limited good looks for the Bulls all night.
Even though he was colder than a late November night in Colorado to begin the game, Nate Robinson finally found his sea legs with a pair of huge threes to open the fourth quarter. They helped blow the Nuggets lead up to 14 and created some much needed separation for a Nuggets team that has struggled in the final frame of late. He still needs to be more consistent in his play to earn more minutes, but it was encouraging to see Nate finally knock down some big shots after some long barren stretches.
We got to witness a special night from Jordan Hamilton tonight. He poured in 17 big points off the bench on 6-12 shooting, including 3 huge three pointers. After a slow start to the season, Hamilton has gradually begun to improve his shooting, and it's really opening up looks for the rest of the team. The Nuggets now have credible three point threats from at least 6 players - Fournier, Foye, Hamilton, Lawson, Robinson and Chandler - without counting Gallo. As a team, the Nuggets shot 43% from beyond the arc and seem to be getting more confident with each game.
Even though the Nuggets again missed 10 free throws (12-22), they managed to overcome their ongoing issues with a barrage of outside shots. The Bulls made run late to put a little extra chill into Nuggets fans tonight, but ultimately a clearly gassed Bulls squad thinking of their date with Portland tomorrow night threw the towel in after Nate Robinson blew the game open to start the 4th quarter. This was a great win for the Nuggets to end their 2-game slide, and it gives them some much needed momentum heading into the next game against the Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki on Saturday.
- The Nuggets bench. Jordan Hamilton (17), Nate Robinson (10) and Evan Fournier (9) were all superb and outplayed the Bulls all night. Fournier had some great drives to the lane, Hamilton had a few nifty off balance looks, and Nate hit a window bank shot. The trio shot 6-15 from deep, good for 40% and 18 much needed points. Darrell Arthur hit some nice pick and pops as well.
- JJ Hickson put up 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Kenneth Faried again notched a double double tonight with 12 points and 11 rebounds. However, the Nuggets frontcourt struggled all night to control caroms off the glass and were outrebounded 58-48 - giving up 22 offensive rebounds. It was worrying to watch how easily the Bulls had second chance opportunities, but they simply couldn't make them. Still, it was nice to get a solid 26 and 20 from Mega Faried/Hyper Hickson tonight.
Lumps of Coal
- Where was Wilson Chandler tonight?! Although he saw 27 minutes on the court, he missed both his shots, scored zero points, committed a foul, turned the ball over twice, and would otherwise have been completely invisible if not for 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. There were stretches where the Nuggets could have used Chandler's offensive ability, and he simply didn't have it tonight.
- Similarly, Ty Lawson was far below his season averages tonight with 10 points and 7 assists. While certainly a good effort against one of the best point guards in the league, Ty's defense on Rose was generally bad and he wasn't making the shots he normally does. Without the bench stepping up, Lawson and Chandler's poor offensive showing could have made this a much tighter game than it was.
Opposition's Take: Blog a Bull