The Denver Nuggets lost a close one against the Chicago Bulls tonight, 99-90. Despite keeping it close most of the game behind good performances from Kenneth Faried and Will Barton, the Nuggets had a breakdown in the fourth quarter when they settled for bad shots and let Pau Gasol take too many easy jumpers. Gasol finished with a season-high 26 points, also bringing down 19 rebounds. Barton was the leading scorer for the Nuggets with 16 points.
There were multiple areas that killed the Nuggets tonight. For one, the Bulls had far too many second-chance points behind 5 offensive rebounds from Joakim Noah and 3 from Taj Gibson. Also, despite the Nuggets shooting well early in the game, they finished with a 38.7 field goal percentage, and virtually no production from a guard not named Will Barton. Furthermore, they were 13-22 from the free throw line.
Also, one thing that is sure to upset many Nuggets fans is the fact that Nikola Jokic did not see the court in the second half after scoring 7 points and bringing down 3 rebounds in only 10 minutes in the first half. Although he had a tough time defending Gasol, nobody else the rest of the game did any better, and it's questionable why Michael Malone did not go back to him after his good play. Overall, the Nuggets had some bright spots but made too many mistakes on both sides of the floor to beat a team as good as the Bulls.
Full recap will be up shortly.
Box score via espn.com