In Friday’s 115-110 win at Golden State, Rose hit 12-of-19 from the field and scored 25 points for the second time in three games as Chicago (6-7) improved to 1-2 on its seven-game road trip.
Rose had 23 points in the second half, including 12 in the fourth quarter, but sat the final 1:13 after colliding with Corey Maggette and injuring his hip. Rose said he expects to play on Sunday.
“Man, it was a sharp pain that was there for a long time, but I’m all right now,” he said. “I’ve just got to ice it and massage it tomorrow. I’m not missing (Sunday’s game at Denver).”
The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft had been coming off a six-point, 1-of-8 performance in Wednesday’s loss at Portland. Rose, though, has scored at least 23 points in four of his last six games.
This will be his first matchup with one of the league’s top point guards of the past decade, Chauncey Billups, who is facing his former Central Division foes for the first time since being traded from Detroit on Nov. 3. Billups averaged 25.5 points in four games against Chicago last season.
The Bulls’ only victory in Denver over the past 10 years came on Feb. 8, 2006, when Ben Gordon hit seven 3-pointers and scored 30 points in a 110-107 win. The Nuggets have won eight of the last nine meetings at home.
Gordon could be the difference again. The Bulls have split two meetings with the Nuggets in each of the last four seasons, with Gordon averaging 27.5 points in Chicago’s four wins and just 11.3 in four losses.
Gordon has been struggling, held to a total of 24 points in the last two games after averaging 25.6 in his previous seven outings. He’s 4-for-25 from 3-point range over his last four games.
The Bulls, though, were 10-of-23 from beyond the arc Friday and shot 51.1 percent overall after hitting 34.6 percent in Wednesday’s loss. Larry Hughes made 5-of-7 from 3-point range at Golden State and scored a season-high 26 points, but he’s shot 28.4 percent from the field and averaged 10.6 points in 10 career games in Denver.
While the Bulls look to improve to 2-5 away from the United Center, Denver (8-5) returns to the Pepsi Center seeking its fifth straight home win.
The Nuggets had a four-game winning streak snapped Friday, losing 104-90 to the Los Angeles Lakers, and are still looking for ways to get Carmelo Anthony better opportunities to score. Anthony scored a season-low 10 points - his fewest in a game since he had 10 in a 121-94 loss at Toronto on March 23, 2007 - and is averaging only 16.3 points on 33.7 percent shooting in his last six.
“I think it’s very difficult to be a star when defenses are designed and manipulated to take you out and stop you from being successful,” Denver coach George Karl said. “Right now we’re not getting a lot of opportunities for him. He’s taking a lot of tough shots and getting frustrated over the shot selection. I think he’s got to be patient and work with us, and we’ll figure out how to help him gain more success.”
Anthony, shooting a career-low 38.2 percent from the field in 2008-09, has averaged 29.6 points in his last seven games versus the Bulls.