The Denver Nuggets (46-19) wrap up a three-game homestand tonight as they welcome the Chicago Bulls (29-36) to town to wrap up their two-game season series. The Nuggets took the first of the two matchups in convincing fashion by a 126-103 mark back in November in a game where Jamal Murray was the only Nuggets’ starter that played more than 27 minutes.

The Nuggets are continuing to play strong basketball on a nightly basis. They’re riding a four-game winning streak, and they’re 8-2 over their last 10. Since January 1st, they’re fifth in offensive rating, sixth in defensive rating and first in net rating. They’re also the only team in the top six in both offensive and defensive ratings during that time frame.

For the Bulls, it has been a troublesome year. They’re 3-7 over their last 10 while riding a two-game losing streak entering tonight. They’ve dealt with bumps and bruises all year, and the major issue has been Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t played since January of last year while dealing with a knee injury that has already ruled him out for the remainder of this season. They’re only three games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but their margin for error is shrinking.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (46-19, 30-4 home) vs Chicago Bulls (29-36, 11-21 away)

When: 7:00 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. League Pass for non-Denver market viewers. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Rival Blog: Blog a Bull

Expected Starting Lineups:

CHI: PG Patrick Beverley, SG Alex Caruso, SF Zach LaVine, PF DeMar DeRozan, C Nikola Vucevic

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Michael Porter Jr. (illness) PROBABLE, Vlatko Cancar (wrist) QUESTIONABLE, Zeke Nnaji (shoulder) OUT, Collin Gillespie (leg) OUT, Javonte Green (knee) OUT

Three Things to Watch

Protect Inside the Arc

For the majority of NBA teams in the modern NBA, their offenses are focused on shots directly at the rim or from 3-point range. However, the Bulls are not traditionally in that mold, due in large part to the strong mid-range shooters they have in Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. They’re last in the NBA in 3-point attempts while being eighth in two-point attempts and fifth in field-goal percentage. Keep them outside the arc and force them to shoot from outside.

Make their Defense Pay

The Bulls are similar to the rest of the league with their willingness to allow teams to shoot from outside. They allow the 27th-most 3-point attempts and 29th-most makes per game from outside. In the previous meeting, the Nuggets shot 48.1 percent from 3-point range, including a 6-of-11 outing from Michael Porter Jr. If their defense is willing to let the Nuggets shoot from downtown, they have to take advantage of those opportunities.

Keep the Ball Moving

On the year, the Nuggets have been the best example of ball movement leading to offensive success. In games with at least 30 assists as a team, they’re 31-3. They’re second in the NBA in assists, and they’re 15-16 in games with fewer than 30 assists. When this offense is humming, the ball is moving from person to person, and the players are moving around. Avoid becoming stagnant and ball watching.