After leading the Chicago Bulls in scoring Monday against the San Antonio Spurs, Pau Gasol started right where he left off as he started off perfect from the field. Gasol hit all six of his shots as Chicago got off to a hot start in the first quarter. After the first quarter came to its conclusion, the Bulls led 28-21.
The only negative for Chicago in that first quarter was the injury to Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic caught an arm to the face from Denver Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay and it caused the forward to leave the game. He would later go back to the locker room to get stitches for a facial laceration but he didn't return. He was replaced by Joakim Noah, who brought the energy for Chicago.
Chicago continued their good start in the second quarter when the second unit came on in relief of the starters. Both Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson gave Chicago some good minutes in the second quarter. But Denver ended the second quarter on a mini-run led by Kenneth Faried, who always seems to have a big game against the Bulls, keeping the Chicago lead at single digits as the Bulls led 51-46 at the break.
Denver continued to have the momentum to start the third quarter, as they were able to keep the ball moving and showed that they snapped out of their offensive slump that has plagued them for the last three games. The Bulls also aided Denver's third quarter run as they went cold on offense and turned the ball over seven times. Denver's comeback was complete as they went on a 13-3 run to give themselves a 72-68 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Darrell Arthur was the featured man during that stretch, as he scored eight of those 13 points.
It was the Pau Gasol show in the fourth quarter as he had another dominant final quarter for Chicago. Led by Gasol's 12 points and 10 rebounds in the fourth, Chicago was able to retake the lead and never relinquished it again. It was all too much for a young Denver team as they faded away in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls were able to close out the game and walk away with a 99-90 win.
Gasol finished with 25 points, 19 rebounds and four assists to lead the Bulls in scoring again. Jimmy Butler added 19 points and six rebounds, while Joakim Noah came off the bench and recorded nine points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
Will Barton came off the Nuggets bench and led his team with 16 points and added eight rebounds. Kenneth Faried finished with 14 points and nine rebounds
Chicago now moves to 11-5 as they keep their spot as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. Denver drops to 6-13 and is on an eight-game losing streak. Chicago will take on the Charlotte Hornets at home on Saturday as they look to make it three in a row.