The Bulls missed Derrick Rose Friday night in Denver, but they may have found another playmaker in C.J. Watson. The 6-2 guard, in his first year in Chicago after three seasons with the Golden State Warriors, had been dissed by a lot of Bulls fans as a wasted acquisition; in limited playing time his shooting percentage coming into Friday night was .369.
But in 43 minutes, Watson shot 50% from the floor (11-for-22) and scored 33 points. The Bulls pulled their normal modus operandi early by going down double digits -- the Nuggets scored the first 11 points in the game -- and the Bulls didn't take their first lead until the fourth quarter. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah pitched in with double-doubles.
Carmelo Anthony, rumored to be coming to the Bulls (as well as seemingly half the rest of the NBA) by trade, drained a buzzer-beater to win the game by one point for Denver. But the real key was John Lucas III, in his first game for the Bulls, missing two free throws just before that 'Melo shot. Had he made them, the Nuggets would have been forced to hit a three-pointer just to tie.
The Bulls can still wind up with a winning circus trip with a win in Sacramento tonight. And maybe they have found another offensive weapon.