Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets: Postgame Grades and Analysis

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2013

USA Today

After three quarters of Thursday night's battle, the Denver Nuggets (5-6) and Chicago Bulls (6-4) appeared to be headed for a contested finish.

The Nuggets, however, unleashed a 13-0 fourth-quarter run and overshadowed one of Derrick Rose's better performances of the young season.

Led by Jordan Hamilton's 17 points, six Denver players reached double digits and topped Chicago by a 97-87 final.

Despite 22 offensive rebounds, the Bulls underwent a porous shooting night. Chicago struggled mightily from the floor, shooting 38-of-98—or 38.8 percent.

Rose paced the Bulls with 19 points, while Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy chipped in 15 each.

Key Player Grades

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls, Point Guard

He was torching the net this preseason, but Derrick Rose has struggled to knock down shots so far this season.

In Rose's first appearance at Denver since Nov. 8, 2010, though, he was in attack mode, driving past defenders and finishing at the rim. During the first half alone, Rose matched his season average, tallying 15 points before halftime.

But Rose could not buy a basket throughout the last two periods and made just two shots after halftime. 

Rose is close to being back, but he needs to be much more consistent as the season progresses.

Grade: B-

Carlos Boozer, Chicago Bulls, Power Forward

Satisfyingly frustrating is a good way to describe Carlos Boozer's night.

At times, his effort was less than stellar, settling for low-percentage shots and not competing on defense. Then, Boozer would turn up the intensity, dominate the glass and earn some easy buckets.

Boozer scored 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds, including four of the offensive variety.

Grade: B

Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls, Small Forward

Good news or bad news first?

Well, on the positive side, Luol Deng absolutely locked down Wilson Chandler, not allowing Denver's second-leading scorer to manage a single point.

Unfortunately, Deng was awful from the field, making just 3-of-18 shots.

His defense helped keep Chicago in the game, but Deng's offense contributed to why the Bulls were in that position.

Grade: C

Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls, Center

Nov 21, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) looses control of the ball as he's fouled by Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Joakim Noah was undoubtedly the Bulls' most aggressive player, but the long-haired center could not carry the team.

Noah's impressive night nearly resulted in a triple-double, scoring 11 points, grabbing 12 rebounds (seven offensive) and dishing eight assists.

Grade: A-

Mike Dunleavy, Chicago Bulls, Shooting Guard

Mike Dunleavy started in place of an injured Jimmy Butler, who did not travel with the Bulls for their six-game road trip.

Dunleavy played relatively well, but Butler's defensive ability was clearly missed. Denver's Randy Foye took advantage of Dunleavy, scoring eight quick points in the second half.

When it seemed all was lost, Dunleavy ripped off seven straight points and scored 10 in the fourth quarter.

Grade: C+

Taj Gibson, Chicago Bulls, Power Forward

At the very least, Taj Gibson's physicality cannot be questioned.

Gibson worked hard in the paint, fighting for layups and rebounds, but the Bulls' sixth man also picked up three fouls in his first eight minutes.

He tallied nine points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes of work before being ejected late in the fourth quarter due to his second technical.

Grade: D+

Bench, Chicago Bulls

Six bench players saw the floor, but Chicago's reserves had a rough night.

Including Gibson, Kirk Hinrich was given the most playing time, receiving 31 minutes, and Marquis Teague was on the court for 15 more.

But productivity was not on their side, as Hinrich, Teague and Tony Snell—who played a single minute—combined for 12 points.

With Butler sidelined, Dunleavy's shooting spark was already needed, and someone needed to step up. Unfortunately, no one did, and the Bulls suffered because of it.

Grade: D

Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets, Point Guard

Nov 21, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Ty Lawson (3) against Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose (1) during the first half at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

In case you were not aware, Ty Lawson is pretty quick.

But that quickness was not always advantageous for Lawson, since he played slightly out of control. Lawson committed four turnovers and occasionally found himself suspended in midair, panicking into throwing errant passes.

Lawson finished the game with 10 points on 3-of-9 shooting and seven assists.

Grade: C+

Wilson Chandler, Denver Nuggets, Small Forward

Apparently, the Nuggets were playing a game of "Where's Wilson?" on Thursday night.

Defended by one of the NBA's best in Luol Deng, Wilson Chandler was held scoreless and only attempted two shots all night.

Fortunately, Denver did not suffer from Chandler's lack of offensive presence and found its scoring from a handful of other players.

Of course, it wasn't all bad for Chandler since he was solid on the defensive end, helping limit Deng to 3-of-18 shooting.

Grade: C

Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets, Power Forward

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 21:  Kenneth Faried #35 of the Denver Nuggets dunks the ball against the Chicago Bulls on November 21, 2013 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or usi
Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images

Kenneth Faried hit the deck hard early on, but he showed no ill effects shortly thereafter, throwing down a gorgeous half-court alley-oop from Lawson.

Faried and Lawson linked up again on another fast break, and Faried was a force near the basket.

Ultimately, Faried earned a double-double while battling in the paint all night long, netting 12 points and grabbing 11 boards.

Grade: B+

J.J. Hickson, Denver Nuggets, Center

J.J. Hickson was quietly effective, hitting six of his 11 shots and scoring 14 points. He also played stout defense against the Bulls' trio of big men and snared nine boards.

Hickson and Faried dominated the paint during the first half, and it allowed the Nuggets backcourt to take control of the latter session.

Grade: B

Randy Foye, Denver Nuggets, Shooting Guard

It was a tale of two halves for Randy Foye.

He logged just over six minutes during the first half and was practically invisible on both ends of the floor. Foye emerged during the third, though, and lifted Denver to its then-largest lead of the night.

Foye drilled his first five attempts, including two from downtown. He ended the night with 12 points in just 13 minutes of action.

Grade: A-

Jordan Hamilton, Denver Nuggets, Small Forward

Chandler disappeared on the offensive end, but Jordan Hamilton picked up the slack.

He banked in a three-pointer as the shot clock expired, converted an and-one situation and was one of two Denver players to post a plus-10 rating.

Hamilton dropped a team-high 17 points, nearly matching his career-high of 19, and tallied six boards.

Grade: A

Bench, Denver Nuggets

Nov 21, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Nate Robinson (10) drives to the basket during the first half against the Chicago Bulls at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Nate Robinson canned the two most important shots for Denver. The former Bull drained a pair of three-pointers within the first 65 seconds of the final period to stretch the Nuggets' lead to 14 points.

Robinson finished the game with 11 points, but was 3-of-13 on the night.

Timofey Mozgov played very well, accumulating four points and five rebounds in 19 minutes of action. Unfortunately, he was practically Mozgov'd once again, so he needs to work on that.

Evan Fournier missed a pair of three-point shots, but a running jumper helped him find a rhythm. The second-year guard dropped in another floater before knocking down his first trifecta of the game, giving him nine points.

Darrell Arthur and Andre Miller helped the Denver bench outscore Chicago's reserves by a staggering 28 points.

Grade: A-

What's Next?

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls have a quick turnaround ahead of them, traveling to take on the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Led by power forward LaMarcus Aldridge and second-year point guard Damian Lillard, Portland is 10-2 on the season and currently on an eight-game winning streak.

Chicago started this six-game road trip at 6-3, but the slate does not ease up for a few more days. After heading to Portland, the Los Angeles Clippers await the Bulls.

If Rose and Co. is not careful, Chicago will be 6-6 when the team travels to Utah.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets will stay in Denver for a home tilt against the upstart Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night at 9:00 p.m. ET before following the Mavs back to Texas for a Monday night contest at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Dirk Nowitzki and offseason acquisition Monta Ellis are thriving together offensively, so expect plenty of points and little defense from both teams.

It is important for Denver to win one of these high-scoring games, but a mini-sweep of Dallas would keep the Nuggets moving in the right direction after a two-game skid.

Follow Bleacher Report NBA Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: Kenyon19_BR.


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