The Chicago Bulls flirted with what would have been a disappointing loss. The Bulls then woke up in the middle of the 4th quarter to defeat a visiting Denver squad who had lost 7 games in a row.
Pau Gasol scored 24 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, and had 16 rebounds along with 4 blocked shots to lead the Bulls past the Nuggets, 99-90. Chicago outscored Denver 31-18 in the final frame to ice the win.
Jimmy Butler had 19 points on 5-16 shooting. Derrick Rose scored 12 points on an off shooting night, making only 3 shots in 17 attempts. Rose did lead the team with 9 assists. Doug McDermott scored 11 and had a big basket in the 4th quarter as the Bulls asserted themselves. Joakim Noah had a fine game coming off the bench with 9 points and 11 rebounds. Chicago out-rebounded Denver 59-47. The Bulls shot 40.4 % and 35% from three-point land. Chicago had a better half from trey-land than the first half where they went 1-7.
Gasol played another all-around game where the Bulls were almost lulled to an off-kilter daze where nothing was falling. Denver had a lead gong into the 4th quarter but the Bulls woke up and got the W.
Nikola Mirotic suffered a concussion and left the game in the first quarter. He also needed a needle and thread to close up a laceration. Kirk Hinrich did not play and Aaron Brooks saw limited action.
It was a tough night for both Butler and Rose who combined went 8-33 in the game. In the past the Bulls might not have earned the win with their guards having off games. But the forwards had good games, especially Gasol.
This was a trap game for Chicago. They had just defeated the Spurs, one of the league’s better teams, and then faced a team with a 7 game losing streak. Will Barton had 16 for Denver while Kenneth Faried had 14 points. Chicago made the right moves in the stretch to beat back the Nuggets.