The Denver Nuggets roll into the Windy City to face the Chicago Bulls tonight in a no-rest game for both teams. Denver had an incredible first half from rookie Julian Strawther and a terrific third quarter from the starting unit but still had to fight off a late charge from the Atlanta Hawks to win last night. Tonight they’re hoping for a more complete game against the Chicago Bulls, who lost an overtime heartbreaker to the Milwaukee Bucks last night and are hoping to right the ship.

Both teams will be coming in on no rest, and both will be looking for a steadying win. The basketball might not be pretty, but it should be fun.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (15-9) at Chicago Bulls (9-15)

When: 6:00 PM MST

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream & Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5FM. Say you have five bucks that you owe Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and you’re here to give it to him – they’ll let you right in.

Rival Blog: BlogABull

Injury report: Jamal Murray – questionable (OTHER ankle), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee), Jay Huff – out (G-League), Braxton Key – out (G-League), Colin Gillespie – out (G-League); Patrick Williams – probable (ankle), Alex Caruso – questionable (ankle), Zach LaVine – out (foot), Lonzo Ball – out (knee)

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: Who will score for Denver?

The Nuggets needed 29 from Jamal Murray and 22 from Julian Strawther to escape Atlanta with a win. How will Jamal’s newly-sprained left ankle from that game react a day later? Can Strawther summon his first half shooting touch again in a back-to-back? Michael Porter Jr. went 1-for-11 on a brutal shooting night, and asking Nikola Jokic and Aaron Gordon to work the backcut and paint floater game to perfection is a tough way to win. If Murray struggles at all (assuming he even plays the day after the injury), Denver will have to find some guys who can put the ball in the basket. Reggie Jackson having a good game would help, as would MPJ or KCP finding their scoring touch. The Bulls are injured but not helpless, and losing to lesser teams on the road is a Denver Tradition as old as time. Tonight they’ll have to buck that trend.

The thing to remember: Jokic controls the game against Chicago

It’s not just a Serbian Celebration Night thing (though I’m sure that doesn’t hurt), but Nikola had a 15-assist performance in Chicago in 2022 and a 14-assist night in 2023. Directing maestro performances in the Windy City is one of his calling cards. Nikola Vucevic can’t take Jokic out for drinks before the game thanks to the back-to-back, so Denver might get a carry performance from the league’s greatest player, and certainly an offense put in the right positions to make the plays they need for victory.

The thing to bet: Jokic over 9.5 Assists (+110)

Just do it. I told you why up above. You know you want to. The Nuggets are gonna be a cutting nightmare against a short-handed team that just chased over every screen from Milwaukee for 50+ minutes last night. I don’t think the Nuggets will shoot well from deep, but I do think they’ll score a lot in the way they want, and Nikola will lead the way on that.