Chicago Bulls looking to extend winning streak as they host the Denver Nuggets
Jimmy Butler will be crucial to any success Chicago has against Denver. Photo: USA-TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls looking to extend winning streak as they host the Denver Nuggets

Jimmy Butler and co. will hope to make it five wins in a row, whilst the Denver Nuggets will look to bounce back from their loss on Sunday. Tip-off is 8:00 p.m. E.T. on the Feb. 28.

chris-hughes
Chris Hughes

The Denver Nuggets will look to solidify their rocky form tomorrow night - but travel to face one of the league's in-form teams - the Chicago Bulls.

The hosts currently boast a hot streak that has lasted four games, the best run in the whole of the Eastern Conference.

However, the Nuggets have struggled as of late, winning just four of their last ten, losing both of their last two road match-ups too.

Despite this, Denver is still putting away high numbers for the season, with their 110.6-point average the third best in the Western Conference. Unfortunately for the side, it's coupled with a -1.2 point plus/minus differential.

Meanwhile, a win for Chicago would help them put more pressure on the Atlanta Hawks in the fifth seed, with Mike Budenholzer's side having lost their last three games in a row.

If the Bulls do take the win then the Nuggets will continue to hang on to their playoff seed by the skin of their teeth, as they sit just a win above the Sacramento Kings, who will play before Chicago and Denver face each other.

The Season Series so Far

Jamal Murray scored a team-high 24 points in the last match-up between the two teams. Photo: USA-TODAY Sports

Denver will go into the game with the chance to sweep the two-match series, having beaten the Bulls in their last encounter back in November.

Jimmy Butler led the scoring with 35 points off a 55-percent conversion rate, but ultimately the Bulls' bench threat, or lack of, led to a narrow Denver victory.

With a final score of 110-107, a total of 61 of Denver's points came from their second unit, in comparison to just 13 from tomorrow's hosts.

If the Nuggets are to win, it'll be the first season sweep between the two franchises since the 2012-13 campaign, which was also won by Denver.

The game promises to be a tight affair too, with all of the last five match-ups having been won by nine points or less.

Key Players and New Guys

Cameron Payne made his Bulls debut in Saturday's win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo: USA-TODAY Sports

Jimmy Butler, who as aforementioned scored 35 in the reverse fixture, will be key for the Bulls tonight, thanks to his team-high 24.3-point average.

Whilst Dwyane Wade will be able to chip in thanks his own average of 19.2 points per game and 4.6 rebounds, the Bulls will have to look elsewhere for further support, following their trade deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

Forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott were two of the other three Chicago Bulls players to have averaged double figures for the campaign, meaning their three new acquisitions will need to hit the ground running.

Forward Joffrey Lauvergne, a former Nuggets player, played just two minutes of basketball on his debut against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Despite this, the big man put in some solid numbers before leaving OKC, shooting 17 points against the Washington Wizards.

Meanwhile for the Nuggets, center Nikola Jokic will look to recover his form from the start of the calendar year, after he averaged just shy of 24 points per game for the month of January.

Whilst the 22-year-old may have scored 40 points against the New York Knicks earlier in the month, he's still only averaging 16.1 points for February.

Forward Danilo Gallinari still leads the side in scoring, however, thanks to a 17.4 average off of a 16.25 player efficiency rating. He's scored 20-plus points in his last two games.

Injuries and Game Specifics

For Chicago, the German Paul Zipser will definitely miss the encounter, and the Eastern side could be without a further two players.

Point guard Michael Carter-Williams is currently listed by ESPN as day-to-day, having missed Monday's practice. Anthony Morrow could yet make his debut after his trade on Thursday.

Denver, on the other hand, will go into the encounter with a full-strength arsenal, with Michael Malone's side boasting a clean bill of health.

The game is set to tip-off at an estimated 8:00 p.m. eastern time and will take place at the United Center in Chicago.

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