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Preview: Denver Nuggets look to keep the ball rolling against struggling Chicago Bulls

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The Denver Nuggets look to improve to 6-1 against the Bulls on Wednesday night

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets are in the windy city on Wednesday night where they’ll put their 5-1 record and that “different feel” to the test against the 2-5 Bulls. The Bulls—who are coming off of a 149-124 shellacking at the hands of the Golden State Warriors on Monday night—will look to scoop their dignity back off the floor and regroup against a Nuggets team that typically struggles on the road. For Denver, this is another opportunity to show their improvement from last season—the Bulls are not a good team, but these Nuggets have a history of playing down to their opponents. Can they keep the focus and improve to 6-1?

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets (5-1) at Chicago Bulls (2-5)

When: 6:00 PM MDT

Where: United Center • Chicago, IL

How to watch: Altitude TV, AltitudeNOW.com and the AltitudeNOW App

How to Listen: Altitude Radio 92.5 FM

Rival Blog: Blog a Bull

Injury Report

Will Barton (hip/groin) - out, Isaiah Thomas (hip) - out, Michael Porter Jr. (back) - out, Jarred Vanderbilt (foot) - out,

Three Things to Watch

How will Nikola Jokic rebound from his lackluster showing against the Pelicans? Jokic recorded a near triple-double in a win over New Orleans on Monday night, but he looked passive and disinterested. Big Honey is the engine that drives this Nuggets team and if he’s not aggressive then Denver can struggle to play their brand of basketball. Nuggets fans have their fingers crossed for a monster performance from the Serbian.

Jamal Murray at the point guard position. The Blue Arrow has struggled in more than one way to start the season. In addition to searching for his shot as he deals with some lower leg pain, Murray has looked particularly vulnerable when handling the basketball. The handle looks loose, and Lonzo Ball made it look all too easy as he harassed Murray for 94 feet in Denver’s only loss so far to the Los Angeles Lakers. Against the Pelicans on Monday night, Murray missed opportunities to feed his dominant big man both in the post and the pick-and-roll. The Nuggets need him to bounce back tonight.

Torrey Craig’s minutes and performance at the small forward position. Craig has struggled to space the floor and make positive contributions to the starting unit, resulting in a quick hook against the Pelicans. Head Coach Michael Malone opted for a three guard lineup instead, throwing Malik Beasley out there, and that lineup saw some success. Malone made it clear that he has no intention of removing Craig from the starting unit, but how much will he play? If he struggles again, will Beasley get another shot?

Prediction

Denver is favored by 7 12 points tonight and with good reason—the Bulls are not a good basketball team. While not all of last year’s demons have been exorcized, there does indeed appear to be something different about this campaign. Last season this might have popped as a trap-game. This season, it simply looks like a game the Nuggets will win. I’ve got them taking home the W, and covering the spread.

Poll

Will the Nuggets take care of business tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Yes, and cover the spread
    (345 votes)
  • 17%
    Yes, but they won’t cover
    (77 votes)
  • 5%
    No, they lose focus on the road
    (24 votes)
446 votes total Vote Now