Jokic has triple-double as Nuggets surge past Bulls, 125-107

Led by their defense in the second half, the Nuggets took control late in the third quarter and never let up the rest of the way.

Nikola Jokic broke out of his slump on Tuesday vs. the Bulls with his third triple-double of the season, scoring 19 points with 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

Denver did exactly what it set out to do by limiting Chicago to one offensive rebound in the second half and outrebounding the Bulls 45-35 overall.

Gallanari posted a game-high 22 points, while Jokic came up with back-to-back triple doubles for the Nuggets.

Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo had 19 points apiece for Chicago, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.

Denver topped 120 points for the 11th time in its past 23 games. Perhaps most importantly though, Jokic had perhaps his best quarter of basketball since the All-Star break, putting up seven points (on 3-3 shooting), pulling down five rebounds and adding three assists in the opening period.

Gary Harris and Will Barton each scored 15 points for Denver. Jimmy Butler had an off-night and finished with just eight points on 3-for-13 shooting.

"The shots that we missed deflated us", coach Fred Hoiberg said. "He just didn't get into the flow or rhythm". It was a gritty effort from Rondo that we have not seen a lot of this season. The Nuggets pushed it to 99-83 on five points from Gallinari in the first 1:59 before Wade responded with a 3-pointer. Though he only scored two points through the first six minutes, he had four nice assists to keep the Bulls in front of a fast-paced Nuggets attack. They simply played one-on-one basketball, consistently putting up very bad shots.

One of the many maddening aspects of the Bulls is how infrequently they take advantage of the opportunities afforded them.

The Bulls and Nuggets would trade baskets for most of the third quarter, with the Bulls managing to stay in front for most of the first nine minutes.

Cameron Payne was not able to find minutes in the second half of the Bulls win in Cleveland on Saturday night. It seemed like every time down the court in the second half, Gallinari was hitting an open jumper or Jokic was making a highlight reel play.

NOTES: Bulls PG Michael Carter-Williams missed his second straight game with patellar tendinitis.

  • Julie Sanders