The Chicago Bulls came off a three day break after one of their hardest fought losses of the season and inexplicably hung with the Denver Nuggets in a first half shootout Thursday night. After weathering a storm of open 3s, dunks and transition buckets, they went into the half in the Mile-High City down only 5 points.
Then the third quarter happened. After giving up a season high 37 points in the quarter, the Bulls were essentially blown out of the water. They never had a shot after that, and Tom Thibodeau agreed, considering neither Deng nor Noah played a second in the fourth quarter. Speaking of Noah, this was his return from his new bout of plantar fasciits, and it was apparent. I'm not going to say that he shouldn't have played, but he definitely wasn't himself, and it showed. The biggest problem in this game was the combination of Bulls' turnovers and easy baskets for the Nuggets off said turnovers.
The Nuggets were led early by the voracious play of Kenneth Faried, who had 17 points and 8 rebounds in the first half alone, compiled without missing a shot until the third quarter. He finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds on 9-10 shooting to go along with two steals. Former Bulls target Wilson Chandler shot 8-9 from the field, including 5-5 from deep, finishing with 24 points. Ty Lawson was also extremely effective, with 16 points and 12 assists on 5-11 shooting, while Danilo Gallinari added 15 and Andre Iguodala had 14. JaVale McGee had 10 points and 3 blocks.
On the Bulls side of things, Carlos Boozer had 18 points on 9-15 shooting (in 22 minutes of play), Deng had 11 and 8 boards and the returning Joakim Noah had 2 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in 23 minutes. Nate Robinson added 14 and 6 assists on 5-8 shooting and Daequan Cook, the Garbage Master, had a team high 19 points on 6-16 shooting (4-12 from deep). Jimmy Butler had 9 points and Marquis Teague had 8 for the Bulls, who fall to 12-17 this season against teams currently over .500
This was pretty much over midway through the third quarter, so there's not a lot else to say. All that I really need to tell you is that Daequan Cook scored 19 points and that the 128 points scored by Denver is the most given up by a Bulls team since Tom Thibodeau became the coach.
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