Jamal Murray exits early, Nuggets’ defense falls apart in preseason loss to Bulls

CHICAGO – Jamal Murray’s face winced as he trudged towards the tunnel on the United Center.

His go back from left ACL surgical treatment, in simply his 2nd sport again, used to be minimize upfront quick. But sooner than he exited the sector on Friday evening, he spoke with The Denver Post and confident he used to be high quality.

“It was frustrating, but it’s OK,” Murray mentioned. “It’s only a cramp. It’s now not adore it used to be a pull. Nothing severe. My frame hasn’t had this a lot since coaching camp, three-hour practices and all that. I assume I’m simply adjusting to the workload, that’s all.

“I’m good,” he reiterated.

Murray exited Friday’s 2nd preseason sport with 1:27 left in the second one quarter due to what the staff deemed left thigh soreness. Murray later clarified it used to be a cramp in his hamstring.

He didn’t even watch the second one 1/2 from the customer’s bench.

Murray’s well being, excess of the lackluster defense, used to be the main fear from Friday’s 131-113 loss to Chicago, however that fear briefly deteriorated.

There used to be no ensure Murray used to be going to play into the 3rd quarter, anyway. Prior to the sport, Nuggets trainer Michael Malone mentioned it could be contingent on how he felt at halftime.

“Jamal, I get a little bit more worrisome, with the knee,” Malone mentioned sooner than tip-off. “He’s fine, but I want to be really careful about how we do this.”

Because of that, Malone mentioned he used to be restricted at shootaround on Friday morning.

“Recovering from ACL, you don’t want to have multiple ramp-ups, play hard, cool down, ramp-up, so I’m trying to limit that,” Malone mentioned.

The selection to play him in the second one 1/2 used to be in the end taken off the desk.

Aside from Murray, right here’s what else mattered in Denver’s 2nd preseason sport.

Michael Porter Jr. had no hassle discovering house: Would Denver choose MPJ to prepare dinner over Russ? Is this a secure house?

In 10 first-quarter mins, Porter used to be 4-of-10 for 9 issues and 4 forums. He stepped into one deep 3-pointer off a glance from Murray, ducked inside of and served as a powerful publish goal on any other play and were given a wholesome choice of appears to be like up. Lest one puzzled what number of photographs Porter may just to find in a non-Jokic-led offense, we were given an concept. (Nikola Jokic remained in Denver due to a proper wrist sprain. An MRI confirmed “nothing sinister,” in accordance to Malone.)

Even extra encouraging, Malone presented this big-picture point of view on Porter’s standing.

“Michael’s doing really well with his return-to-play and his back,” he mentioned pre-game.

As with the whole thing amid his go back, Porter’s sport used to be a combined bag. There had been encouraging defensive sequences the place he presented excellent contests in opposition to smaller Bulls guards, however there have been additionally unhealthy ones, the place he used to be beat again in transition or attacked inside of.

His 15 first-half issues and 3 3-pointers relatively made up for the defensive lapses. Not that any quantity of scoring will supersede defensive effort in Malone’s eyes. Porter completed the evening with 20 issues on 8-of-17 capturing, with 4 3-pointers and 7 rebounds.

What defense? The focal point all week used to be on transition defense, speaking and placing forth effort to get again. Chicago’s 23 fastbreak issues undermined all of this previous week’s paintings, although maximum of it got here in the primary 1/2.

What’s extra, Denver allowed 40 issues in the paint in the primary 1/2 by myself – an egregious quantity for simply two quarters. The Nuggets’ level of assault defense used to be non-existent and the Bulls lived in the paint. DeMar DeRozan, basically guarded by way of Aaron Gordon, torched the defense for 22 issues on 9-of-15 capturing.

While Jokic remained in Denver, there used to be veteran heart DeAndre Jordan crashing the glass and putting in his teammates for simple baskets. Some sequences had been seamless. Others had been what you’d be expecting whilst you change a two-time MVP for a reserve heart.

Jordan earned the beginning, whilst camp upstart Zeke Nnaji were given vital run with the second one unit.

Bones’ task: Like Porter, this preseason may have rising pains for Bones Hyland. There shall be moments when the second one unit’s offense is disjointed, and there shall be different occasions when they may be able to play at Hyland’s tempo. Spacing, for a participant of his pace, can be a consistent factor.

In one second, Hyland can also be unfastened with the ball. At the following, he can slither into the paint and make a cunning end inside of. In the fourth quarter, Hyland flexed his infamous vary with back-to-back 3-pointers.

He ended the evening with 24 issues on 4-of-8 3-point capturing in 22 mins. That integrated six made loose throws – a right away results of his slipperiness.

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