The Denver Nuggets look like they haven't missed a beat.
Denver took down the Chicago Bulls, 116-102, in the Nuggets' third game of the preseason. Denver is now 2-1 overall in the exhibition stage of the season.
Julian Strawther led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting and 4-of-9 from deep. His 23 points represented a high for the rookie in the preseason, and the 21-year-old has now accumulated at least 16 points in all three of his exhibition games.
"Just love his aggressive mindset," said Jamal Murray about the rookie. "Miss, make, turnover, whatever it is, just staying constantly aggressive, looking for his shot, and playing at his own pace."
Jamal Murray had a fantastic outing and finished with 21 points on a multitude of tough shots. Murray also dished out 5 assists and has looked incredibly comfortable as a pocket passer in the preseason, specifically with Nikola Jokić.
"The pocket passes are ridiculous. People act like that's easy. It's not easy. That's Andre Drummond in front of you, that's a guard on your back, and those passes are on point. When he's doing that and he's just letting the game come to him, it already was really hard regardless to guard those two guys. And obviously, in the playoffs, it really was. You saw the assist totals in big games. And if that continues throughout the early part of the season, that makes us extremely, extremely dangerous," said acting coach David Adelman.
Jokić picked up right where he left off after his outstanding performance in Denver's second preseason game. He finished Sunday with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in 23 minutes.
Denver opened the ballgame with style on a Sombor Shuffle from Jokić. Quite the way to make a home debut and usher in a new season at Ball Arena!
Murray continued his ridiculous rhythm and hit multiple tough shots. First, it was a stop-on-a-dime two-pointer that sent his defender stumbling. Then, it was a hanging layup on the fastbreak that led to an And-1. Then, he hit another midrange shot, this one out of stepback, against a tight contest. Murray finished the first half with 18 points, and the Nuggets carried a 59-52 lead into the second half.
Denver got the lead up to as many as 15 points to start the second half, and their starters looked absolutely unstoppable. Denver's starters checked out just past the halfway point in the quarter and did not return to the ballgame. The Nuggets entered the fourth quarter with an 87-77 lead.
Julian Strawther set the tone in the fourth quarter with a floater from an incredibly tough angle, a three-pointer while relocating on the perimeter, and then another three in the corner. Strawther continued to pour it in and reached 23 points in the game. Hunter Tyson had his best quarter of the preseason and hit two three-pointers and a layup off a cut to reach 8 points in the quarter and 11 points overall. With the rookies scorching the nets, Denver crossed the finish line with their second victory of the preseason.