Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 128, Bulls 96

February, 8, 2013
2/08/13
12:10
AM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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DENVER -- Let's take a quick look at how the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 128-96 win over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night at Pepsi Center.

How it happened: Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried dominated the game, going 9-for-10 from the field for 21 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Wilson Chandler added 22 points, while Ty Lawson chipped in with 16 points and 10 assists. Daequan Cook led the Bulls with 19 points, but it wasn't nearly enough, as the Bulls played their worst second half of the season.

What it means: After playing the Nuggets fairly even in the first half, the Bulls got completely outworked in the third quarter and never recovered. The Nuggets pushed the tempo and did whatever they wanted on both ends. The bigger takeaway from this game shouldn't be that the Bulls got crushed, though. It should be the health of Joakim Noah. The Bulls center played 23 minutes after missing the last three games because of plantar fasciitis, but he did not look like himself. Obviously, some of that has to do with rust and some to do with the talent he was facing in the Nuggets. But Noah looked as if his foot was still bothering him, and that should concern Tom Thibodeau the most. The Bulls cannot afford to lose Noah for an extended amount of time, given the lack of depth they have at the center position.

Hits: Not much good news for the Bulls in this one, aside from the fact that Nate Robinson had a solid first half, going 5-for-8 from the field for 14 points.

Misses: Noah, Richard Hamilton and Luol Deng were a combined 6-for-25.

Stats of the night: 128 is the most points a Thibodeau-coached Bulls team has given up.

What's next: The Bulls are right back at it Friday night, when they take on the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5