There was high praise to go around on Thursday night in Denver, but it was all going to the home team.
The Denver Nuggets turned a five-point halftime lead into a blowout by the end of the third quarter, clearing the bench against the Chicago Bulls in the fourth en route to a 128-96 win—Denver's eighth straight.
Denver (32-18) had an extremely efficient shooting night when the final buzzer sounded in the fourth quarter, as the Nuggets finished with a 58.1 shooting percentage from the floor. Led by Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler, who combined to shoot 17-of-19 from the floor, the Nuggets poured it on in the second half after a sluggish start.
Chandler finished with 24 points while Faried had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, and four other players finished in double figures before the night was over.
Ty Lawson had a remarkable plus-minus of plus-40 for the Nuggets, finishing with 16 points and 12 assists.
Chicago (29-20) just couldn't survive a rough third quarter on Thursday night and committed 15 turnovers in the road loss. Rip Hamilton and Joakim Noah both had rough nights for the Bulls, finishing with just two points a piece.
Daequan Cook and Carlos Boozer led the way for Chicago with19 and 18 points, respectively.
Player of the Game: PF Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Faried played like an animal yet again for the Nuggets, scoring 21 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and accumulating two steals before the night was over—all in just 25 minutes of burn.
Not only is Faried usually the hardest-working guy on the court, he's starting to become the most efficient, as evidenced by his 9-of-10 line from the floor and nearly point-per-minute ratio on Thursday night.
It was a good night for Faried. Not only did he find out he was a participant in this year's All-Star game, but he—and his team—keep on rolling on the court in preparation for the playoffs.
Up Next for the Bulls
The Bulls won't have much time to recover after Thursday night's showdown with Denver, as they'll travel to Utah to face the Jazz on Friday night before preparing for a rough two-game stretch against two veteran clubs.
After facing the Jazz, the Bulls will take on the San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics, both aging teams dealing with injuries. Still, the veteran coaching experience and leadership for both teams will make these two games extremely tough for Chicago over the next week.
Up Next for the Nuggets
Denver will now prepare for a stretch of seven road games in its next nine, starting with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night. The stretch will include games against the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, and could help determine where Denver ends up being seeded in the Western Conference come playoff time.