The Denver Nuggets look to avenge a double-overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls in the kind of home-and-home matchup that helps make the NBA preseason what it is. Julian Strawther looked like a bench spark-plug again in the last game, but Denver fell to 1-1 in the preseason despite some late heroics from the deep parts of the bench. Denver’s bench wound up against Chicago’s starters for much of the third quarter in the last game and lost that matchup handily. That will be something to watch if it comes up again.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (1-1) vs Chicago Bulls (1-1)

When: 7PM MDT.

Where: Ball Arena, Denver CO.

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: DirectTV, DirecTV Stream, FuboTV, and Charter Cable) NBA league pass for viewers not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5FM.

Rival Blog: Blog-A-Bull

Injury report: Christian Braun – questionable (calf), Michael Porter Jr. – questionable (ankle), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Lonzo Ball – out (knee)

The Three Things

Can Julian Strawther keep this up?

Strawther has been electric through two preseason games (and one scrimmage open to the fans). He can get his deep shot off quickly and accurately, even while still in motion. He can cut to the hoop or drive off a DHO with the kind of quick second-gear that all good slashers have. His push shot floater means he doesn’t even have to get to the rack to be dangerous. Any questions about Julian might be on the defensive side of the ball, but he’s played to his promise on the offensive end in every facet. Strawther also has played to his height – at 6’7 he can rebound and affect shots for smaller guards and wings. The Nuggets are trying to determine who gets bench minutes after the locks of Reggie Jackson and Christian Braun. Strawther has thrown a strong hat in the ring and looks to continue that push tonight.

Will the Nuggets be able to close the rebounding gap?

Chicago out-rebounded Denver 56-39 last game, with much of that thanks to Andre Drummond treating the Nuggets bench like little children who were trying to keep him from an 8 foot hoop. Just hopping and hoping for rebounds didn’t cut it, and won’t for the regular season either. The Nuggets need to limit Chicago’s offensive possessions and that will be difficult to do without proper box-outs and team rebounding. Denver has good wing size but poor interior size and length on the bench, and with DeAndre Jordan as the only true backup 5 on the roster they will need to do the little things right to grab boards and push the pace. Last game was good for exposing the problem, this game will give them an immediate chance to show improvement against the same squad.

Might Denver show any changes to the rotation?

It’s hard to judge the rotation so far, since both Michael Porter Jr. and Christian Braun have yet to play in the preseason, but Denver’s starting unit doesn’t really need any time to work on chemistry. Their chemistry is award-winning. The younger players who might get forced into playing next to starters could use some time with either Nikola Jokic or Jamal Murray in a game setting, and the middle of the preseason schedule is as good a time as any to arrange for that. Zeke Nnaji getting minutes at the 4, or Strawther with more at the 3, can help show both potential and growth areas.

Prediction: It’s the preseason, we’re not doing line predictions. Go have fun watching the defending champs mess around in games that don’t count – the real games are right around the corner.