The key observations as Bulls defeat Nuggets in home preseason opener

In the home preseason opener, the Chicago Bulls secured a 133-124 double-overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets at the United Center on Thursday night. Here are 10 key takeaways from the game:


—Coach Billy Donovan continued with his starting lineup of Coby White, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vucevic for the second consecutive game, as he fine-tunes his rotation.


—The Bulls heavily emphasized “paint attacks” early in the game, with 14 of their first 16 points coming from the restricted area. This strategy created opportunities for open three-point shots.


—Zach LaVine displayed an aggressive approach, scoring eight of his initial ten points from inside the restricted area, including an impressive putback and a dunk on a fast break with DeRozan.


—The Bulls showcased unselfishness with excellent ball movement in halfcourt situations. Players like Torrey Craig passed up good looks for even better three-point opportunities.


—Ayo Dosunmu made the most of his second-half start, contributing with three offensive rebounds, strong defensive efforts, and a clever assist leading to a LaVine layup.


—Despite an impressive performance from Nikola Jokic, who scored 17 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out four assists in the first half, the Bulls’ Nikola Vucevic showcased his skills, especially in the closing moments of the first half.


—The Bulls opted to keep their starters on the floor for the initial minutes of the second half, in contrast to the Nuggets who rested their key players. DeRozan and LaVine combined for 36 points in the game.


Bulls star DeMar DeRozan leaves loss to Celtics with quad injury after  tripping on Al Horford


—The Bulls continued their trend of attempting over 30 three-pointers for the second consecutive game, a significant change from the previous season.


—Patrick Williams struggled to make an impact in the game, securing only five rebounds in a total of 41 minutes. The coaching staff has emphasized his need to be more aggressive on the boards.


—Defensively, the Bulls displayed a mixed performance. They capitalized on turnovers, scoring 30 points off 28 Nuggets’ turnovers. They also kept the foul count low, not sending the Nuggets to the free-throw line until the second half. While they controlled the rebounding, they allowed the defending NBA champions to shoot 50 percent from the field, leading to Donovan calling timeouts to address defensive lapses.

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