LAS VEGAS — The Bulls stayed perfect in summer-league play, defeating the Nuggets, 103-76, on Sunday night at Cox Pavillion on the campus of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Following a slow start that saw them face an 11-1 deficit, the Bulls climbed out of the hole behind the torrid perimeter marksmanship of second-year swingman Tony Snell (23 points) and first-round draft pick Doug McDermott (31 points), who scored a combined 20 points in the opening period to give the Bulls a 32-24 lead, despite Nuggets forward Quincy Miller’s (26 points) early hot hand.
Behind the play of Miller, a native of North Chicago, Denver briefly drew closer at the outset of the second quarter, but the duo of McDermott and Snell, along with some physical play from second-round pick Cameron Bairstow, helped the Bulls take a 52-42 lead at the intermission.
After the break, McDermott and Miller went at it, with the Bulls forward, already a fan favorite in Sin City, continuing to showcase his impressive skill throughout the third period, putting the Bulls up, 75-63, heading into the final stanza.
“It feels much better. The game kind of slowed down for me out there. I felt real comfortable, and I’m glad we got the win,” McDermott explained. “I wasn’t rushing things, and I thought as a team, we moved the ball a lot better. We had 21 assists compared to yesterday — we only had 10 — so overall, our flow was a lot better.
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“We ran that down-screen action that was giving them some trouble, so whenever you have two shooters like that, it’s tough to guard,” he went on to say, discussing his burgeoning chemistry with Snell. “That first one, just a little uptight. I was so excited for my first game, and today, it slowed down. It felt more like basketball and just back to normal.
“I just felt way more comfortable. After I hit that first face-up jumper, everything started to open up a little for me, and I just felt a little more confident with my post game.”
Bulls summer-league head coach Adrian Griffin chimed in: “Well, I think tonight Doug really slowed down. It seemed like the game slowed down for him, and it was impressive to see how he scored on the inside. He can put it on the floor, he can space the floor. He has a very high basketball I.Q., and that’s what these games are about, just to see where these guys are and see how much improvement they need to be ready in the fall.”
The Bulls cruised in the fourth quarter, as McDermott continued to torch the Nuggets with help from Lazeric Jones, a Chicago native and Derrick Rose’s fellow Simeon Career Academy graduate.