Happy new year, SLAM fam!
Bulls (23-10) 106, Nuggets (13-20) 101
The Nets snapped the Bulls’ seven-game win streak on Tuesday, but Chi-town got back on track last night at the United Center with a W over the struggling Nuggets (Struggets?). Jimmy Buckets continued his career season, approaching a triple double with 26 points, 8 boards and 8 assists. The fourth-year shooting guard has improved immensely on the offensive end since his Marquette days and the chemistry he’s developed with Derrick Rose is exciting to watch. D-Rose has been looking more and more like his old self as of late and dropped 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter. He shot just 7-25 from the field but dished out 8 dimes, grabbed 2 steals, blocked 2 shots and nailed a jumper with 20 seconds left to extend the Bulls’ lead to five. Pau Gasol was instrumental in the victory as well; the seven-footer Spaniard had 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and an astounding 9 blocks, showing why he’s likely to start in the all-star game come February.
Denver simply couldn’t stop Rose in crunchtime. The 2011 MVP’s play down the stretch was the deciding factor in the game. Wilson Chandler (22 points) and Ty Lawson (20 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds) led the way for the Nuggets, who have now lost five of their last six games. Kenneth Faried (18 points, 19 rebounds) has strung together a few solid outings and is finally looking like the Manimal that we’re so accustomed to watching.
Kings (14-19) 110, Timberwolves (5-26) 107
Troy Daniels missed a three-ball at the buzzer that would have sent the game to overtime as the woeful Wolves lost their 10th straight. Boogie Cousins (19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks) and Rudy Gay (21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, 8 turnovers) both fouled out in the fourth quarter, but prior to their exits they played well enough to propel Sacramento to a win. Derrick Williams kicked off 2015 with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals against his former team. Darren Collison contributed 21 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds and has filled the vacant PG role left behind by Isaiah Thomas quite nicely. The Kings came out aggressive on offense after a 22-point blowout loss to Boston on Wednesday night. It’s clear that Sac-town isn’t the same team it was with Mike Malone, but at least they were able to escape 5-26 Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins (27 points, 9 rebounds, 4 steals) has now scored 20+ points in four of his last five games and if he keeps it up he’s gotta be the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. The T-Wolves got solid production from Gorgui Dieng (15 points, 10 boards) but they sorely miss center Nikola Pekovic, who’s been out since November with an ankle injury.