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Nuggets Vs. Bulls: Nene Returns To Lineup For Denver In Chicago

(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls kick off a three-game homestand Monday when they welcome the Denver Nuggets to the United Center.

The Bulls are coming off a tough overtime loss in Boston on Friday when Paul Pierce hit the go-ahead layup off a pass from Rajon Rondo in the extra frame of that one, as the Celtics beat Chicago, 110-105.

Joakim Noah had his fifth straight double-double with a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who had 20 turnovers, leading to 31 Boston points. Noah, himself had a key turnover with Chicago trailing 108-105 and just 14.9 seconds left.

"I can't lose the ball in that situation," Noah said. "I think we're not there yet, but we're pretty close. We're only going to get better, and when we do, it's going to get real ugly for everybody who's talking real crazy."

Luol Deng added 20 points against the C's, while Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose each scored 18. Rose also had nine assists.

Chicago will finish its residency with games against Golden State and Washington.

The Nuggets, who are resuming a three-game road trip tonight, are coming off an impressive 102-92 win in Dallas on Saturday. Chauncey Billups scored eight of his 18 points in Denver's dominant fourth quarter in that one.

Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 27 points, but scored just two of them in the fourth quarter, in which Denver outscored Dallas by a 24-13 margin. Ty Lawson added eight of his 10 points in the final period.

Al Harrington ended with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who have won two in a row since losing to Dallas at home last Wednesday.

"We were getting a lot of steals in the game, getting the ball a lot, collapsing on the ball better than we've probably done all year," Denver head coach George Karl said of his team, which had 16 steals. "It's a good win, a good pride win. Guys bounced back, guys found their energy, found the pride to come back against a really good team that beat us a couple nights ago."

Denver, which has already been without forwards Kenyon Martin and Chris Andersen, who are both out after offseason knee surgeries, has also played its last three games without talented center Nene. The Brazilian big man, who is battling with a groin injury, is listed as questionable for tonight's game.

Denver, which will finish its current trek in Indiana, swept the home-and-home season series with the Bulls a year ago, and has won three of four overall against Chicago.