The Nuggets head to Chicago to face the Bulls in game three of their current seven game road trip.
The Nuggets are in the mist of a rough patch, but it’s not to late to salvage the teams playoff hopes. After two straight losses to beatable opponents, the Nuggets playoff chances are hanging on by a thread. With a record of 38-33, the Nuggets are now two games behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot with only 11 games remaining on the season. Every game becomes more imperative for the Nuggets to get a victory and becomes even more critical with how well every team in the Western Conference is doing. The Nuggets were gifted with a surprising Utah Jazz loss to the Atlanta Hawks last night, and they’ll look to gain even more ground on the Jazz with a victory in Chicago on Wednesday night.
In the Nuggets last game out the team lost a heartbreaker to the Miami Heat in double overtime. That loss came after a loss to the worst team in the NBA last Saturday in Memphis. Even after two straight tough losses, the Nuggets will have to find a way to forget about those games and do whatever they can to make a playoff push. Only four of the Nuggets last 11 games are at home, so the team will have to find a way to win games on the road in order to clinch their first postseason berth in four years.
The Bulls come in with a record of 24-46 and have already been eliminated from playoff contention. As poor as the Bulls record is, the team still has some exciting young players that has allowed the team to pick up some surprising victories over good basketball teams this season. The Bulls are led on offense by Zach LaVine whose averaging 16.7 points per game in 24 games this season. LaVine missed half the season as he recovered from a torn ACL that he suffered last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Another guy the Nuggets will have to look for is rookie Lauri Markkanen. The Finnish rookie out of Arizona University has had a strong first season averaging 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Markkanen shoots over 42 percent from the field and will be a guy the Nuggets need to pay a lot of attention to on the defensive end of the floor.
The Nuggets will still be without Gary Harris who will miss his third straight game with a knee sprain. Harris suffered the injury in the Nuggets game against the Pistons last week at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets have certainly missed Harris’s scoring ability as he’s been the teams leads rob the offensive end of the court this year averaging a team high 17.7 points per game. Will Barton has filled in for Harris in the starting lineup and has scored over 20 points in two of his last three games, but hasn’t even able to replace what Harris gave the Nuggets on defense.
If the Nuggets want to get back in the win column it all starts with defense, and they’ll have the ability to do just that in a must-win matchup tonight in Chicago. Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for the postgame and find out if the Nuggets were able to keep their playoff chances alive.