Nuggets Outlast Bulls In Preseason Finale
Don’t worry. The Evolution will be televised.
The Denver Nuggets won 98-93 against the Chicago Bulls Friday night in their final exhibition game before their 2018-19 season opener in a contest that wasn’t aired in the Mile High City market.
Coach Mike Malone’s squad rebounded from a loss earlier in the week to the Los Angeles Clippers, toughing out a six-point triumph to finish its preseason slate 4-1. The win at United Center was kickstarted by a 14-2 run late in the second quarter that gave the Nuggets 12-point edge, going into halftime.
The Bulls trimmed what was once a 17-point Denver advantage all the way down to one on a 3-pointer by small forward Jabari Parker with 4:09 to go, but the Nuggets bowed up and outscored their opposition by four the rest of the way.
“It was a weird game,” Malone told Altitude Nuggets reporter/analyst Katy Winge. “I thought we had great stretches and we some stretches where we were pretty bad. Lots of peaks and valleys tonight.”
Denver’s vaunted starting five, a group comprised of Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Will Barton Paul Millsap and Nikola Jokic, each played at least 24 minutes, its heaviest workload of the preseason.
Harris led the way for the Nuggets with a team-high 18 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds, two steals and a block in 29 minutes of action. Murray scored 17, knocking down three 3-pointers and collecting a game-high five steals. Jokic added 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Barton chipped in with 13 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Trey Lyles paced the reserves with 10 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.
Defensively, Denver had 13 steals and five blocks.
“Understand why you built a lead, how you built a lead and stay with that,” Malone said.
Parker was Chicago’s top-scorer with 19 points and six rebounds while playing 32 minutes off the bench. Zach LaVine scored a dozen while Wendell Carter Jr., Cameron Payne, Bobby Portis and Justin Holiday had 10 points apiece in a losing effort.
Denver will go back to California to begin the regular season when they face the Clippers at Staples Center Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. MT. That game will be broadcasted live on Altitude TV and streamed on AltitudeNOW.