Nate Robinson returned to the United Center for the first time as the Denver Nuggets took on the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. The night was probably not what Robinson was expecting in his return to the Windy City as he was held scoreless in this match-up. Robinson also missed a potential game-tying three-pointer with 18.1 seconds left.
After leading 48-36 at halftime the Nuggets lost the lead with 4:26 left in the third quarter and never regained the lead. Andre Miller tied the game at 85 with 2:08 to go to score the final two of his 6 points in the 94-89 loss against Chicago.
The Bulls won this game despite shooting 8.5% worse than the Nuggets. Denver’s inability to make free throws likely cost them this game going 11/20 (55%) from the charity stripe. The two teams shot a combined 1/27 from behind the three-point line, with Luol Deng making the lone three in this contest. The Nuggets lackluster shooting performance has to be concerning even though this was the final preseason game.
Denver finishes the warm-up period just 2-5 after losing four straight. The bright spots in this game were the Nuggets big men as JaVale McGee and Anthony Randolph each finished with 15 points and JJ Hickson tallied 14. Randolph and Hickson each had with 6 rebounds, a block and a steal. Hickson also contributed three assists. McGee racked up a team high 8 rebounds and added a couple of assists as well.
The Nuggets continue too collect injuries as Ty Lawson left the game with tightness in his groin after scoring 11 points in 16 minutes. Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler also did nog play due to their hamstring injuries.
Damion James had a productive eight minutes with 6 points and 2 rebounds while Quincy Miller continues to struggle as he was scoreless in 16 minutes of play. It will be interesting to see which of these players gets the final roster spot for Denver.
Evan Fournier was one again the most productive shooting guard for the Nuggets with 10 points, 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 rebound. Randy Foye netted 2 points and a plus-minus rating of -12. Both guards played 18 minutes against Chicago.
McGee struggled with finding the rim tonight but still looks like he will have a monster year.
Fournier is the most consistent two guard on the roster and will eventually win the starting role from Foye.
Hickson continues to look more comfortable in Brian Shaw‘s offense every game and should be the starting power forward on opening night.
Derek Rose seems to be well on his way back to his old MVP self – which is great news for basketball fans and bad news for LeBron James.
Next up for the Nuggets, they will get a few more days of practice before their regular season opener. They open against former assistant general manager Pete D’Alessandro‘s Sacramento Kings at the Sleep Train Arena on Wednesday night at 8:00pm (MDT).
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