The Chicago Bulls will look for their sixth-straight win in the NBA season, when they visit the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
The Bulls (6-3) have gone on a nice run since starting the season 1-3, and that too despite their superstar guard Derrick Rose struggling after making a comeback from a serious injury, which saw him miss the entire last season.
Chicago, though, will miss a key player in Jimmy Butler, one of their best defenders, after the guard/forward was ruled out for a few weeks with a turf toe.
"Jimmy is someone we're definitely going to miss, especially with his energy and defense," Rose told the team's official website. "He's been knocking down shots. But the way our team is, if one guy goes down, the other guy has to step up and do a great job. That's Mike Dunleavy, Kirk (Hinrich) or myself if I'm playing the two. We've just got to fill in for him."
One of Hinrich or Dunleavy is expected to start in Butler's stead, but neither of the two are as good as the latter defensively.
"His energy. His versatility defensively, he can guard so many different positions," Hinrich said of Butler. "He's one of our better athletes on the wing so really just his versatility. He does so much for us."
The Bulls have gone on a 5-0 run without Rose being at his best, with the former MVP averaging just 15.0 points and 4.5 assists per game, both career lows.
The Denver Nuggets haven't exactly made the brightest of starts at 4-6, but have a 3-2 record at home, something they will definitely look to take advantage of, especially considering Chicago are just 1-3 away.
"I think it's difficult to play [them] because they're a tough team to play matchup-wise up and down," Hinrich said. "Altitude, I played against Colorado in college in Boulder, too (while attending Kansas University). And it always seemed like the first couple minutes you're going to get that burn [in your chest] and then it was fine after that."
The Nuggets have slight concerns over former Chicago man Nate Robinson who has been termed as day-to-day with a wrist injury. "I play through all injuries if I can," Robinson told the Nuggets' official website. "I love the game too much."
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for a 9 am IST start on Friday morning in India, with live coverage on Sony Six. You can also catch the game via Live Stream on NBA.com