|Nuggets aim to improve road record vs. Bulls|
The Denver Nuggets had lost six of their last seven contests on the road before they hit the road over the weekend to start a five-game trek. They started the trip with a decisive victory Saturday and look to take another step in the right direction Monday when they visit the Chicago Bulls.
Jamal Murray continued his sizzling offensive performance by scoring 26 points in Denver's 126-96 win at Oklahoma City on Saturday. Murray has averaged 30.1 points over his last nine games and 21.6 for the season.
Nikola Jokic, who averages team-best totals in points (26.7), rebounds (10.9) and assists (8.5), collected his eighth triple-double of the season after notching 19, 11 and 13, respectively against the Thunder.
"I talked to our team about this (in the) morning, we have to be a team that's hard to guard," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "Everyone in that starting group was phenomenal."
Case in point, fellow starter Michael Porter Jr. made five 3-pointers in the first half en route to recording his third straight double-double.
"I think I have the capability to help this team on both sides of the floor," said Porter, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. "I'm just trying to get better and help my team on (the defensive) end. Stay locked in and not take any possessions off. Stay with the right energy for the entire 48."
Will Barton III had 15 points and six boards and Monte Morris added 13 points after making 6-of-9 shots from the floor.
"It just shows what kind of team we can be when we're locked in, focused and all on the same page," Barton said.
While Denver has won three of its last five games overall, Chicago saw its season high-tying three-game winning streak come to a halt on Friday with a 106-97 setback to the Phoenix Suns.
Zach LaVine scored 24 points and Coby White added 19, however the pair combined for six of the team's eight turnovers in the fourth quarter. All told, the Bulls had 19 turnovers in the game that led to 24 points by the Suns.
"We just turned the ball over at an alarming rate. It broke our momentum," Chicago coach Billy Donovan said. "We just didn't make good decisions with the ball."
The end result for the Bulls? A disastrous fourth quarter in which they were outscored by a 32-16 margin.
"I think we scored 16 points in the fourth. Can't have that," White said. "We were all hurt. There's no question that we controlled the game throughout the first third. It's just that fourth quarter, we gotta come out and close. We felt like we should've won. We go into any game feeling like we can win any game."
The Bulls' bid to rebound on Sunday against Toronto was denied by the NBA in accordance with the league's health and safety protocols. Positive test results and ongoing contact tracing within the Raptors prevented the team from having the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled game in Toronto.
The Bulls are hoping to get back on track at home. Monday's contest ignites a stretch for Chicago in which it plays six of its next seven games at the United Center.
--Field Level Media