Game Keys: Bulls vs. Nuggets (10.07.22)

Tonight, the Bulls welcome the Denver Nuggets to the Windy City as both teams look to bounce back after early preseason losses. Denver fell at home to Oklahoma City, 112-101, on Monday, while the Bulls stumbled out of the gates early, dropping as many as 19 points before rallying furiously late, only to fall short against New Orleans, 129-125, Tuesday in the United Center.

Here are a few things to watch for tonight against the Nuggets (7 p.m. CST kickoff – NBC Sports Chicago):

With Lonzo Ball out of action for the start of the 2022-23 campaign, Chicago head coach Billy Donovan says he plans to experiment with different looks during the preseason, rotating players behind the wheel in hopes of finding out who it gives the Bulls their best chance to start fast. The first four starters (Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams and Nikola Vučević) are dice. What Donovan is trying to figure out is who is the best option to power the action as Ball rehabs from recent knee surgery.

Second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu took over the starting assignment the other night and did well, scoring 10 points (shooting 3-for-5 from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc), three assists, two rebounds and two turnovers. ball in 23 minutes. Dosunmu started 40 games at the point last season as a rookie and put up a very solid effort, just like he did against the Pelicans on Monday. He’ll most likely be a starter again when the games really start to count, but in the meantime, Bulls PA announcer Tim Sinclair will most likely call someone else when the lights go out tonight (Alex Caruso? ) .

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A major key to the Bulls’ success this season will be how well they defend. Monday’s effort was nothing to brag about, that’s for sure. Despite Nikola Vučević blocking four shots at the rim, Chicago’s overall defense collapsed like a stale donut as they allowed New Orleans to rack up 40 points in the first quarter and 70 at halftime. For the game, the Pels posted a whopping 62 points in the paint overall. That simply cannot continue to happen in the future. There needs to be better communication and acknowledgment between the Bulls’ defenders tonight if Chicago is to move forward in preparation for the start of the season in less than two weeks.


Denver hits the hard wood after a 48-win season last year. This team is pure gold, led by NBA MVP superstar center Nikola Jokić and the healthy returns of point guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter Jr.

Murray missed all of last year recovering from a knee injury, but when he’s healthy, he’s a big winner of buckets and big shots. Porter Jr. battled chronic back problems and only saw the court nine times last season.

While the OKC game the other night was a pretty sloppy affair (aren’t they all preseason openers?), Murray and Porter did what they do best: score. Murray scored 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting in his 15 minutes, while Porter added 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 14 minutes.

Assuming Denver can get past the injury woes, they are certainly a legitimate Championship contender.

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