Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Derrick Rose had a team-high 18 points and added six assists, and Luol Deng finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, as the Chicago Bulls edged the Denver Nuggets, 94-92, at the United Center.
Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 32 points and added eight rebounds for the Nuggets, who were coming off wins over the Clippers and Dallas. Arron Afflalo ended with 15 points and Chauncey Billups chipped in with 14 in defeat.
J.R. Smith's layup with 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter put the Nuggets ahead 80-74, but Chicago answered by scoring eight of the next 10 points to tie things at 82-all with 5:12 to play. Ronnie Brewer started the run with a pair of free throws, then finished it with a dunk.
Afflalo's reverse layup on the Nuggets' next trip put his squad back in front, but Denver went cold from there. Brewers' free throw, a runner by Rose, Noah's 1-of-2 effort from the stripe and a dunk by Deng put the Bulls ahead 88-84 with 2 1/2 minutes to go.
Then with the hosts up 90-86 following a Rose fade away jumper with 1:08 left on the clock, neither side was able to score until Anthony's layup with 15.3 seconds left made it a two-point game, 90-88.
Noah was fouled on the Bulls' ensuing possession and made only 1-of-2 at the line for a three-point lead. Denver called a time out and Chicago elected to foul Anthony, who converted both from the stripe to cut the Nuggets' deficit to 91-90 with 11 seconds remaining.
Kyle Korver was then hacked and calmly sank both free throws to restore Chicago's three-point edge with 8.5 seconds left. After a Denver 20-second timeout, Afflalo's corner three was off the mark and Deng went to the line after getting fouled, but only made one, which was good for a 94-90 lead with one tick remaining. Afflalo's layup at the buzzer accounted for the final score.
Anthony and Nene scored nine and eight points, respectively in the opening quarter to pace the Nuggets to a 28-23 lead after the first 12 minutes.
Billups' two free throws with 5:21 left in the half put Denver ahead 41-35 before Gibson's jumper ignited a Bulls' 12-0 and they would go in front 47-41 following a Rose free throw with 1:07 to go. Chicago took a 50-43 lead into the intermission.
In the third with the Bulls up 68-58 and 2:54 to play in the period, Anthony scored the final 10 points of a 12-0 Denver burst and the visitors had a 70-68 after three.
Denver swept the home-and-home season series with the Bulls a year ago and despite the loss have still won three of the last five meetings against Chicago...Noah had his sixth straight double-double...Denver shot 43.6 percent from the field.