Michael Porter Jr.’s season-high 31 points propel Nuggets past Bulls – The Denver Post


CHICAGO – Michael Porter Jr. raised his arm and a smile stole across his face.

As the Bulls called a timeout deep into the second half of Sunday’s contest, Porter took satisfaction in how his sweet 3-point stroke had brought the pain.

In the final game of an exhausting four-city road trip, the Nuggets hit the Bulls and never stopped swinging. The final 126-103 score was a reflection of Porter’s season-high 31 points and Nikola Jokic’s 14 assists. Jokic only tied his season-high in helpers. He finished a plus-29 on the night with only eight points.

Despite the absence of Bones Hyland due to health and safety protocols, the Nuggets seized Sunday’s affair to finish 3-1 on the road trip. Now 9-4 on the year, they’ll resume Wednesday at home against the Knicks following a well-deserved day off.

Jamal Murray added 23 points, and Bruce Brown had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double off the bench. Of Porter’s 31 points, six baskets came from 3-point range, and he did his work in only 24 minutes.

The Nuggets racked up 33 assists and blistered the nets for a 60% shooting clip.

Chicago’s franchise centerpiece Zach LaVine had a team-high 21, but he and DeMar DeRozan weren’t nearly the terror Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were two nights earlier.

Between Jokic dishing and Porter drilling, Denver’s offense hit Chicago in waves once the third quarter began. If Jokic was engineering, then his running mate, Porter, was unconscious.

Porter erupted for 16 points in the quarter alone, spraying 3-pointers from all over the floor. If it wasn’t him burying his looks, then it was Aaron Gordon from outside, or Jamal Murray in the paint, or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stepping confidently into his jumper. The Nuggets doused the Bulls for 35 points in the quarter and stretched the lead to as much as 23. When Porter finally checked out, he received a standing ovation from his teammates on the bench.

Denver entered the fourth with a comfortable 97-76 lead.

In the wake of Friday’s disappointing effort in Boston, Nuggets coach Michael Malone implored his team to enter Sunday’s contest with more urgency.

“We have to do a much better job just with our energy, our effort … and not trying to ease ourselves into this game,” he said.

Citing the disparities in his team’s performance in both wins and losses, Malone earmarked his team’s 3-point defense and hustle stats as bellwether numbers.

“It’s more about us,” Malone said.

At least early, Denver heeded his message and jumped on the Bulls from the start.


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