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News » From ecstasy to agony

From ecstasy to agony

From ecstasy to agonyFor a moment Tuesday night, the United Center erupted in euphoria as it appeared the Bulls extended their comeback and winning streaks with a miracle finish on a Brad Miller prayer at the buzzer.

But after a lengthy review, the officials ruled that Miller's shot came after the buzzer.

Instead of a dramatic win, the Bulls had a heartbreaking 90-89 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

''It's such a split-second thing with 0.3 seconds,'' Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''I thought it was good. Truly, I haven't even seen the replay. It's irrelevant. The refs have to make the call. I thought it was good initially.''

The officials refused to comment directly to a pool reporter, but crew chief Mark Wunderlich told a Bulls media-relations official that whether Miller got the shot off was a ''judgment call.''

Trailing 90-89, the Bulls threw the ball inbounds from the front court. Kirk Hinrich found Miller at the top of three-point arc, and the 7-foot center caught it while turning and flipped the ball toward the basket without really catching it.

The ball swished through, and official Eric Dalen signaled it good. All such plays at the ends of games -- or the ends of quarters -- are reviewed.

''I always thought that 0.3 seconds was enough to get a shot up, and the way Brad threw it up -- he didn't even follow through or anything -- I thought it was definitely good,'' Bulls center Joakim Noah said.

During the review process, a few Bulls continued to celebrate.

''Looking at the replay, to overrule it, how could you overrule it?'' Noah said. ''It was really close. I don't know. Just a tough loss, but we have to bounce back against Toronto.''

Miller left without comment.

The Bulls (4-3) saw their three-game winning streak snapped. Derrick Rose had a team-high 22 points, Luol Deng added 21, and Noah had a career-high 21 rebounds.

Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 20 points.

Denver took a 71-66 lead into the fourth quarter and maintained the edge until the final minute, leading by seven points on a couple of occasions, including 83-76 with six minutes left. The Bulls pulled to 85-83 on John Salmons' three-pointer with three minutes to go and had a chance to tie on their next possession, but Rose missed a jumper.

Kenyon Martin scored with 1:56 to play to stretch the lead back to four points. But the Bulls battled back again. Hinrich cut the lead in half with a jumper and then got the ball back with a steal at the other end. Rose scored off a scramble after a miss to tie the score at 87 with 33.9 seconds left.

Anthony then answered with a 15-footer to put the Nuggets back on top 89-87 with 13.1 seconds to go. After a timeout, Rose didn't waste any time attacking and was fouled heading to the basket with 10.4 seconds left. He sank both free throws for a tie at 89.

The Bulls needed a defensive stop to force overtime and thwarted the first Nuggets attack, knocking the ball out of bounds with 4.3 seconds left. But Chauncey Billups got the ball and drove the lane against Hinrich, who was called for a reach-in foul with 0.6 to go.

Billups made the first free throw for a 90-89 Nuggets lead, then missed the second free throw to set up the final play.


Denver 22 24 25 19 -- 90

Bulls 20 23 23 23 -- 89

Denver min fg-a ft-a o-t a pf pts

Anthony 36:24 8-22 3-3 0-5 3 2 20

Martin 34:45 7-15 1-2 3-10 1 1 15

Nene 40:04 5-7 1-2 5-12 0 2 11

Billups 32:51 5-12 7-8 1-2 6 2 17

Afflalo 19:06 4-8 0-0 1-2 1 0 10

Smith 29:27 1-9 3-4 0-3 5 2 5

Andersen 21:02 2-3 0-0 4-9 0 2 4

Lawson 18:01 3-6 0-0 1-2 1 0 8

Carter 8:20 0-2 0-0 0-1 3 2 0

Totals 240:00 35-84 15-19 15-46 20 13 90

Percentages: FG .417, FT .789. 3-Point Goals: 5-16, .313 (Afflalo 2-3, Lawson 2-3, Anthony 1-2, Carter 0-1, Martin 0-1, Billups 0-3, Smith 0-3). Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 18 (16 pts). Blocked Shots: 4 (Afflalo, Nene, Martin, Smith). Turnovers: 18 (Nene 5, Anthony 4, Smith 3, Carter 2, Lawson 2, Andersen, Billups). Steals: 8 (Billups 3, Andersen, Anthony, Carter, Nene, Smith). Technical Fouls: None.

Bulls min fg-a ft-a o-t a pf pts

Deng 39:33 8-14 4-6 3-6 5 1 21

Gibson 27:49 5-8 0-0 3-6 1 4 10

Noah 42:40 6-12 0-0 6-21 2 5 12

Rose 39:02 10-17 2-2 1-1 5 2 22

Salmons 38:20 3-13 2-4 0-5 5 2 11

Miller 14:10 1-3 0-0 0-2 1 4 2

Hinrich 26:08 3-10 0-0 1-2 4 2 6

Pargo 9:29 1-6 1-1 0-0 0 1 3

Johnson 2:49 1-4 0-0 1-1 0 1 2

Totals 240:00 38-87 9-13 15-44 23 22 89

Percentages: FG .437, FT .692. 3-Point Goals: 4-18, .222 (Salmons 3-7, Deng 1-1, Johnson 0-1, Miller 0-2, Pargo 0-2, Hinrich 0-5). Team Rebounds: 6. Team Turnovers: 13 (12 pts). Blocked Shots: 9 (Deng 2, Noah 2, Rose 2, Salmons 2, Gibson). Turnovers: 13 (Deng 3, Hinrich 3, Noah 3, Gibson 2, Miller 2). Steals: 7 (Gibson 3, Hinrich, Noah, Rose, Salmons). Technical Fouls: None.

Officials--Mark Wunderlich, Matt Boland, Eric Dalen. A--21,409 (20,917). T--2:21.


Tyrus Thomas, who had surgery on Saturday to repair the fractured radius of his left forearm, watched Tuesday night's game against the Denver Nuggets from the bench. His arm was still in a cast, but Thomas ditched the sling he had been wearing and put on a jacket to comply with the NBA's dress code. Exactly when Thomas might be back in uniform still is uncertain after his visit to a specialist earlier in the day, although the Bulls are optimistic it will be closer to four weeks than six weeks. ''It's gonna be awhile,'' coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''Everything has gone well, and now it's just a matter of getting him on some cardio program so he can stay in the best condition he can. They're saying four weeks. Hopefully, that's the case.'' ... Without Thomas, the Bulls have just 10 healthy players. They have two roster spots open and there were discussions between Del Negro, general manager Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson about whether to sign another player, but that won't happen for at least a couple of days. ''Not right now,'' Del Negro said. ''We've talked about it, that's still in the works a little bit. We'll have to look at that. With the game [Tuesday] and a back-to-back [tonight at Toronto], there was no reason right now.'' ... Nuggets coach George Karl was the coach of the Seattle SuperSonics team that lost to the Bulls in the 1996 NBA Finals. He was asked what he recalled of that series, which the Bulls won in six games. ''I wish we had Nate McMillan,'' Karl said. ''He played nine quarters in the series and I think we won seven of those quarters. When he was on the court, we were the complete team that might have been able to beat them.'' McMillan, who is now coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, was hampered by a knee injury in that series.

John Jackson


Bulls AT Raptors

The facts: 6, Ch. 26, 1000-AM.

The story line: The Raptors are third in the NBA in scoring this season with an average of 109.4 points, but only the Golden State Warriors are allowing more points than the 111.4 points Toronto opponents are averaging. Big man Chris Bosh is off to a fast start, averaging 29 points and 11.6 rebounds.

John Jackson

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Added: November 12, 2009


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