Chicago, playing the third game of a seven-game road trip, is three losses shy of matching the worst overall start in franchise history, 0-9 by the 1967-68 team.
It doesn’t get easier for the Bulls, either. They play at Denver, where they’ve lost five straight since a 111-72 win on Feb. 2, 1998, before visiting the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Their next two games are in Phoenix and Utah, teams with a combined 12-4 record, before they close the trip at Cleveland next Saturday.
“We’re all frustrated right now,” said Bulls guard Eric Piatkowski. “The mental mistakes are what’s killing us right now. We play good for stretches but we haven’t put together an entire 48 minutes. When we do that we’re going to get a win.”
Denver’s frustration, especially that of Carmelo Anthony, is beginning to ease a bit with two wins in three games after it opened the season 1-4.
Hours after prosecutors dropped a drug charge against him, Anthony scored 30 points to help Denver hold off the Toronto Raptors 112-106 on Wednesday night. Kenyon Martin added 24 points and 16 rebounds to give the Nuggets the 1-2 combination they had been hoping for.
Anthony was charged with drug possession on Oct. 15 after he was caught with marijuana in his backpack. A friend came forward and said the drugs were his, but the negative attention clearly affected Anthony early in the season.
After shooting 27 percent the first four games, Anthony has made 36 of 76 shots (47 percent) the past four, scoring at least 30 points twice. More importantly, he has been more aggressive.
“A little bit early in the season I was thinking about it, worrying about what they were going to do, but now I try to put basketball in the middle and work everything else around it,” Anthony said.
Anthony also had a key block in the closing minutes and made all 16 of his free throws, including two with 5.6 seconds left to seal the win.
“Carmelo is active and not settling for jump shots,” Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “He is taking balls to the hole and hitting the offensive glass, and those kinds of things are needed for him to be a complete scorer.”