Add another to the ‘worst loss of the season’ debate. The Bulls (18-22) allowed a 14-fourth-point lead to drop a point in what Billy Donovan called a “mind-boggling” fashion to lose 131-127 to the Denver Nuggets (25-16).
Here are 17 ideas:
1. The Bulls got another quick start, leading 30-20 after the first quarter on the strength of the new starting lineup (which broke halfway through time with a 14-7 lead and an 11-0 run) and the then being strong. play. They finished the 6-for-10 period from a 3-point range and with 8 assists.
2. That lead moved early in the second in a piece with the power of the reserves. Mountain Bulls outscored the Nuggets ’14 -7 in the first quarter, and led 20-10 after a position by Ryan Arcidiacono and one that came from a steal that made it 38-23.
By the half, that win was 27-17. Entering the fourth: 41-19. And before the end of the game, the Bulls won the 60-24 mountain points battle – one short of their high-season 61 mountain points against the Dallas Mavericks on January 17th.
3. That will be music to the ears of Donovan, who pregame said he was still working to break the balance between the starters and his repositories after he encouraged Thad Young and Tomáš Satoranský to break up the mob plug bench before.
4. What not … Another late fall in the game. Eighteen points from the third quarter helped from Zach LaVine (11) and Otto Porter Jr. (7) by maintaining a steady eight-point lead into the fourth. But the Nuggets climbed back in front of them at the 2:41 mark of the fourth – 108-107 – on a 19-4 running strength. After a bit of back and forth, the game went to overtime.
5. Their first run began when Coby White (flagrant) defeated Michael Porter Jr. on a 3-point jump with the Bulls leading 103-89 at the 7:27 mark of the fourth. The crash turned into a four-point possession for Denver.
6. Cape Otto Porter Jr. everything he could. In his best game since returning from a back injury, he scored 22 points (9-for-13, 4-for-7 shooting from the back of the arc), including some timeless bucket in the fourth. One 3-point lead, just within the quarter-minute mark, gave the Bulls a 110-108 lead. He had a big block later on Will Barton less than a minute later.
7. Zach LaVine wore a midrange jersey over Michael Porter Jr. shortly thereafter to put the Bulls ahead 112-108. However, up 114-111 with 27 seconds left, Facundo Campazzo removed LaVine to give the Nuggets extra possession, which they would pull within 114-113. Two free throws from LaVine later, Jamal Murray tied the contest at the kite with a 3-point corner behind the back of a clutch piece of a two-game by Nikola Jokić.
8. The Bulls did well on Nikola Jokić early. He didn’t make a point or help to a 3:37 mark in the first quarter. At halftime, he had 9 points, 7 rebounds and 1 assist, but you can stay with that from an MVP candidate. But he took over to 15 points and 5 assists between the fourth quarter and extra time, making a bull and breaking back supporting the Bulls to make the cut.
9. Murray was also very sad. The buzzer-beating 3, and lay-in previously owned, was five of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. He poured 7 more in extra time. His last two points – a continuous jersey that put the Nuggets ahead 131-127 with 10 seconds to play in overtime – proved the dagger.
10. The Nuggets, as a team, fired 60.6 percent (6-for-12 from a 3-point range) between the fourth quarter and overtime. The Bulls couldn’t stop him. The Nuggets opened up extra-time with a devastating 9-0 run that the Bulls responded with a late raise. But eventually their sport fell short.
11. LaVine scored 9 points in extra time to push his total for the game to 32. He caught Murray at the back after the final game on icing.
12. Thad Young went out of the game halfway through the third quarter with four personal fouls, limiting him to just 28 minutes on the night. He made a winning play after winning a play in his last season and finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.
13. Lauri Markkanen (10 points, 2 rebounds, 4-for-11 shooting) was mostly missing for the final two minutes of control and extra time. Donovan Porter closed it over. Arcidiacono even got a few bricks of time.
14. Tomáš Satoranský made two offensive jokes in the game and led White’s attack on a crucial step-off-turn conversion late in the quarter. He had four coughs in total.
15. The Bulls move to 5-16 against teams that are currently at or above .500. They move to 10-14 in games that are within a margin of five points or less with five minutes or less to play.
16. Solid scoring and easy offense distribution (the Bulls finished with 32 assists) and good early defense in the game are footnotes.
17. Garrett Temple missed his fourth straight game with an ankle sprain, although pregame Billy Donovan said he has done more work on the court recently. Chandler Hutchison, who has been out since Feb. 6 for personal reasons, is also moving closer to return, all Donovan.
Next up for the Bulls: At the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.
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