The Nuggets had turned their 128-96 blowout of the Bulls into a dunk contest on Thursday night, throwing down 15 in all, many of them registering style points for flair and ferocity.
No hard foul came. No rim resistance got offered. The Bulls allowed the most points under Tom Thibodeau and suffered the largest margin of defeat in his tenure and, still, they went meekly into the night.
"When we start taking shortcuts, we're going to get our ass kicked," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That's the way it's going to be. That's not the way to win in this league. We're kidding ourselves."
The Bulls' vaunted defense, at least the last two games, has become the punch line. After allowing 111 points to the Pacers, the Bulls surrendered -- deep breath here -- season-highs for field goals (50) and field-goal percentage (58.1), 64 points in the paint and 28 points off their 15 turnovers.
Not even Joakim Noah's return from missing three games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot could not stem the tide.
Kenneth Faried's 21 points and 12 rebounds and Wilson Chandler's season-high 24 points, which featured him making all five 3-point attempts, powered the Nuggets to their seventh straight home victory and 12th in 13 tries.
"The first half, he just kicked our ass," Thibodeau said of Faried.
The Nuggets even reached 100 points before the third quarter's end and posted season-highs for points, field goals and field goal percentage. And, still, there was nobody protecting the rim.
"It would be nice," Thibodeau said facetiously, when asked if he'd like to see a hard foul delivered or shots challenged at the rim.
Asked if that has to come from coaching or from within players, Thibodeau's exasperation grew.
Nuggets have their way with Bulls in blowout
Chicago Tribune | Feb 8