Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr. both posted double-doubles as the Nuggets outfought the Bulls on Monday night, 118-112.
Jokic put up a monster stat line, dropping 39 points and hauling in 14 rebounds, while also being one assist shy of achieving a triple-double. Porter Jr. added 17 points and pulled in 15 rebounds.
It was another decent team performance as five different Bulls players scored in double figures. Zach LaVine led all Bulls players with 23 points and joined Michael Jordan as the only player in franchise history to score 20 points in 20 consecutive games. Coby White also added 20 points.
The Nuggets had been struggling on the road as of late, losing five of their last seven away from the Pepsi Center. However, Denver did pull out a decisive victory over the weekend as they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder by 30 points.
The Bulls had a game against the Raptors originally slated for Sunday but that contest was postponed due to contact tracing within the Toronto organization. That meant the Bulls were aiming to get the bad taste out of their mouths from the fourth-quarter collapse against the Phoenix Suns this past Friday.
Jokic and Porter Jr. Set the Tone
The Nuggets really took it to the Bulls in the opening quarter and shot 59% from the field. Two of their top players set the tone as Porter Jr. had ten of the Nuggets first 16 points to propel Denver to an early 16-3 lead.
Nikola Jokic took over from there, adding in eight points and tallying four assists in the first quarter alone. The Bulls did manage to keep the Nuggets within striking distance, trailing by only 12 points at the end of the first quarter.
Bulls Show Belief
While the Nuggets got off to a hot start, the Bulls continued to show belief. The Bulls kept the deficit reasonable and cut the Denver lead to single digits. It was the supporting cast that allowed the Bulls to remain in the game, led by Garrett Temple, who scored seven points himself during the second quarter.
Coby White was instrumental in a third quarter that saw the Bulls cut the Denver lead to as little as one point. White scored 11 of his 20 points in third as the Bulls headed into the fourth down by just two.
Another Fourth Quarter Loss
The Bulls stormed into the fourth, going on a 10-0 run that gave them an eight-point lead with less than nine minutes remaining. However, it was a back-and-forth affair as both teams exchanged buckets throughout. The Bulls held onto the lead, even having an advantage on the scoreboard with as little as 2:14 remaining.
But the Nuggets outscored the Bulls 12-4 in that final 2:14. Two key shots — a three-point shot by Jamal Murray (24 points) and a jumper by Jokic — in the final minutes were two daggers in the hearts of Bulls fans as the Nuggets eventually won the game by six points.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls play their last game before the All-Star Game when they host the Pelicans on Wednesday night. Tip-off will be at 7 PM CST and the game can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago.