The Denver Nuggets are looking to build on their success of a first game victory by following it up with another win against the Chicago Bulls. After playing a fairly regular rotation in the first half, the Nuggets leaned on their reserves in Phoenix and were rewarded by Julian Strawther’s outburst to pick up a victory. In Chicago their approach may be a bit different as the team has just four games remaining before they start to count for real. With the rotation perhaps not totally set in stone, it’ll be up to Strawther and others to build on strong game one performances or make up for otherwise weak ones. The Bulls meanwhile play just three preseason games and lost their first at the Milwaukee Bucks. They played virtually half the city of Chicago in thier rotation in that game so if ever there was a time for a dress rehearsal, it would be tonight in their only home game of the preseason. Like the Nuggets many of the Bulls starters didn’t get make an appearance on the court in the second half of their first game. Chicago’s team is built around a trio of veterans: Zach Lavine, Demar Derozan and Nikola Vucevic. It’s a roster on the cusp of playoff contention that has been held back by the lengthy injuries to their point guard Lonzo Ball. This year may prove to be a pivotal one in deciding the future direction of Chicago.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (1-0) vs Chicago Bulls (0-1)

When: 6PM MDT.

Where: The United Center. Chicago, IL.

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. Convince Jerry Reinsdorf you’ll share the secret to fixing the White Sox if he gives you seats at center court.

Rival Blog: Blog-A-Bull

The Matchup

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

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: Starter minutes

After playing a half last game, how long will the Nuggets play their starters in the second game of the preseason? My guess is coach Malone (or Adelman if Malone isn’t back from bereavement leave) will have the starters open the this quarter to get them used to having to find the energy after taking a break for halftime. That would lead up nicely to playing them nearly a full game in Denver on Saturday and then giving the starters essentially the last two games of the preseason off. Speaking of starter minutes, Michael Porter Jr looks like a game time decision for Denver. I doubt he plays personally but you never know. It seems like it would make more sense to wait until your home on Saturday before sending Mike out for his first bit of action.

The thing to remember: An old friend will be at the United Center

The Chicgo Bulls are led by former Nuggets front office executive Arturas Karnisovas. A key part to building the core that eventually won a title, Karnisovas is another former member of the Nuggets organization who absolutely should get a ring for his efforts, particularly on the European scouting side that would land Denver their star player in Nikola Jokic. Thus far Arturas’ tenure in Chicago has been up and down with the Ball injury being a major thorn in the roster construction plans. In many ways it mimics how he and Tim Connelly started in Denver: with a roster of veterans that appears to be good but is not really anywhere close to competing for titles. Time will tell if Arturas gets the chance to develop this core into something special, or if he’ll go down with a ship captained by Zach Lavine and Nikola Vucevic.

The bet: Bulls Moneyline +110

Listen, if you continue to insist on throwing all rhyme and reason out the window and betting on preseason basketball then I’m going to continue to tell you to take the plus money on these coin flip bets. For this game the plus money is with the Bulls (Nuggets are listed as 2 point favorites FYI). Do I have in depth analysis and advice to give you on the Bulls preseason roster and why it will win against the Nuggets preseason roster? Absolutely not. In fact, the only advice I can give you is to seek help you absolute degenerate.