The Denver Nuggets gave up a 21 point first half lead and lost to the Chicago Bulls by a score of 110-90 on Monday night. Yes, it is always concerning when you give up that kind of lead but I refuse of over-analyze preseason games. All you can do is look for individual performances and judge from there.
Danilo Gallinari was visited by the famous "18 month layoff rust" and his shot was off all night and finished with only 6 points (all in the first half) on 2-9 shooting. Ty Lawson missed 4 free throws and finished with 2 points. That's right ... 2. Maybe some concern about that ankle? We shall see. Kenneth Faried was a bright spot. Seemed to overcome his ankle issues of late and added 19 points and some hustle. Timofey Mozgov continues to impress with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 very nifty blocks on one possession of Derrick Rose.
Brightest spot of the night? Without a doubt rookie center Jusuf Nurkic. Largely playing against Taj Gibson, Nurkic finished with 15 points on 7 of 9 shooting. He was efficient and displayed some very nifty post moves that we had not, until this point, seen in an NBA game from him. On the downside Juka did foul out mid way through the 4th quarter. Outside of that he was a tremendous bright spot in an incredibly weird preseason game. Ignore the blowout score, Chicago extended it's lead when Quincy Miller was supposed to play center. That will tell you where the Nuggets head was at the end (and where Tom Thibodeau is ... in midseason form with overplaying his rotation players).
With his performances so far this preseason, Nurkic is making a strong case to get at least some playing time during the year. Will be interesting to see how the Nuggets deal with their preponderance of center depth going into the new year.
On to the next preseason match up.