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News » Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2009-11-23

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2009-11-23

Chicago Bulls Getting Inside 2009-11-23The annual circus road trip started with a victory in Sacramento, but it quickly turned into a frustrating excursion for the Bulls.

Facing last year's Western Conference finalists in consecutive games, the Bulls saw their defense fall apart in losses to the Lakers and the Nuggets.

"It's tough because we played so hard and we gave it away in the fourth quarter," forward Luol Deng said after the Bulls were outscored by Denver 37-22 in the fourth quarter Saturday. "They're a big home team, we know that. But when we get a lead like that, we've got to be smart and make better plays."

Should the Bulls be concerned, or was this just a matter of losing to a pair of teams that rarely fail on their home court? The Nuggets won their 15th consecutive home game dating back to last season.

Look at it this way: If the Bulls can win once more on this six-game trip, they can finish November with a 7-8 record. That wouldn't be too bad, considering they will have played a brutal, road-heavy schedule. In the meantime, forward Tyrus Thomas should be almost ready to return from a broken arm, and the Bulls have missed his athleticism around the basket.

One positive note is the improved play of point guard Derrick Rose. After hitting his final seven shots against the Lakers on Thursday, he knocked down 11 of 20 attempts for a season-high 28 points at Denver.

The next stop on the trip is Portland on Monday. Last year, the Bulls had to play the second leg of back-to-back games in Portland, the day after facing the Lakers. The result was an embarrassing 116-74 loss. At least this season, the Bulls get a day off before playing the Blazers.

NUGGETS 112, BULLS 93: The Bulls seemed to be catching Denver at the right time, because the Nuggets flew back from Los Angeles the night before after losing to the Clippers. The rested visitors opened up a 14-point lead in the first half and stayed ahead until late in the third quarter. But Denver exploded to a 37-22 edge in the fourth quarter and beat the Bulls going away.

The Bulls' last lead was 71-70 with 53 seconds left in the third after a runner by guard Derrick Rose. But then Denver forward Carmelo Anthony (30 points) hit a turnaround jumper, and guard J.R. Smith added a 3-pointer to give the Nuggets a 75-71 advantage heading into the fourth. Smith tacked on a couple more 3-pointers, and the rout was on. Denver hit 16 of 24 shots in the final 12 minutes. Rose scored a season-high 28 points to lead the Bulls.

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Added: November 23, 2009


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