The first quarter between the Denver Nuggets and the Chicago Bulls started with the Nuggets getting off to a hot start as they were out to a 12-4 lead less than four minutes into the game. Following a Chicago timeout, they steadily started to work their way back into the game. The starters were within four, and they were trading buckets back and forth down the stretch of the first period as the Nuggets looked complacent throughout the first en route to a 29-25 lead heading into the second quarter.
To start the second quarter, the Bulls quickly went on a run, and they were leading Denver early on prior to a couple of buckets from Jamal Murray to get the Nuggets back in front. Following that spurt from Murray, the remainder of the quarter was a lot of back and forth from both sides. Neither side was able to generate much separating in this one, and it was clear that this game was going to be a hotly contested one all night long with Denver leading 52-51 at the half.
To start the second half, the Nuggets were hot in the early minutes, but things slowed down in a hurry. About four minutes into the third quarter, the Bulls got started on a 16-3 run that was going over a 4:30 span that featured several missed shots by the Nuggets along with a lot of struggles at the charity stripe. The Bulls’ lead ballooned to 13 with just under three minutes remaining in the period before a five-point run from Denver got them to within eight.
To start the fourth quarter, Denver’s offense had stagnated to end the third as they were down by 11, and the offense still had yet to come to life in the fourth. Through four minutes, they had just four points, and their deficit had ballooned to 19. One of the major telling points of the team’s struggles was Nikola Jokic’s shot selection. He was 1-of-7 from 3-point range. This was only the second time all season he had attempted more than five 3-pointers in a game, and the first time since December 2nd. With just under six minutes remaining in the game, Zach LaVine hit a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 21, and things were at the beginning of the end. The Nuggets got a couple of baskets out of a timeout, but they were immediately answered by the Bulls. Down by 21, it appeared as though Jokic’s streak of shooting 50 percent or better would come to an end at 51 games while the Nuggets would drop to 30-5 on the year at home. The Bulls would win by a final score of 117-96.
Points: Nikola Jokic - 18
Assists: Jokic - 8
Rebounds: Jokic - 12
Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic - 18 points, 8 assists, 12 rebounds, 7-of-16 field goal, 3-of-9 3-point, 1-of-4 free throw