CHICAGO (CBS / AP) –Zach LaVine scored 32 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the Denver Nuggets 109-97 on Monday night.
The Bulls took a hard hit hours before kickoff when top scorer DeMar DeRozan entered NBA health and safety protocols. Even without the four-time All-Star, they dominated down the stretch and tied Brooklyn for the Eastern Conference lead.
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Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic each scored 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the five starters scored in double digits for Chicago.
The Nuggets lost for the eighth time in 10 games despite a triple-double from Nikola Jokic. The reigning MVP finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists.
Will Barton and Monte Morris each scored 19 points. Aaron Gordon added 18 points.
LaVine scored 12 in the third, including seven in a row late in the quarter to extend Chicago’s lead to 74-66.
Ball made a four-run play early in the fourth when Jeff Green hit him to the ground with a flagrant foul. Tony Bradley dunked and Chicago product Ayo Dosunmu rolled a 3 to make it 86-73 with 9:50 to go, wowing the crowd.
It was Dosunmu’s first start in the NBA.
The Nuggets led 49-36 after a 13-0 streak in the second quarter, capped by Barton’s 3-point with 3:46 left. But the Bulls have scored 10 straight points, with Derrick Jones Jr. hitting a long jumper to drop him to 47-46 in the last minute.
Jokic had two free throws in the dying seconds to send the Nuggets to the locker room with a three-point lead.
DOSUNMU: “I AM FROM CHICAGO”
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Dosunmu said he didn’t mind being presented as a starter as being from Chicago rather than Illinois – like at the University of Illinois.
“I was asked. I’m from Chicago. Chicago, Illinois – it’s really the same thing,” Dosunmu said. “I mean, Chicago is in Illinois, but I’m from Chicago.”
Dosunmu said he liked champagne, but was from Chicago. Derrick Rose – a University of Memphis alumnus – also chose to be presented as being from Chicago rather than by the name of his school, like Michael Jordan from North Carolina or Luke Longley from New Mexico.
“I mean, that’s a bonus, sure, because he’s a legend – and everything he’s done for the city of Chicago, being Chicago, of course, are areas where I admire his. course, ”Dosunmu said. “But no, I like to be proud to say I’m from Chicago because I know the us and the downs of the city. I have been here all my life. I’ve seen so much, so many tragedies – and for me, being in this position, doing what I’m living at the highest level, whenever I get the chance to show the love where I’m from. , I always liked to do that. “
Nuggets: Coach Michael Malone didn’t let a reporter finish the question when asked about DeRozan’s absence. “Don’t change,” he said, referring to Denver’s approach.
Bulls: DeRozan was in the early morning shootout before the game against the Denver Nuggets. Coach Billy Donovan has said he’s not sure the four-time All-Star has tested positive. “I can’t really confirm and deny if this is a false positive or if it is positive,” Donovan said. “I don’t know at the moment. Obviously the medical staff are working across the league on this and they are developing the guidelines that they have to follow. And hopefully we can get some more news one way or another in the next few days. “… G substitute Alex Caruso will also be missing at least next week with hamstring strain,” Donovan said. He left Saturday’s victory in Brooklyn. … Dosunmu, a second-round pick from Illinois this year, scored 11 points in his first career start.
Nuggets: Visit New Orleans Wednesday.
Bulls: Visit Cleveland Wednesday.
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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)