Chicago’s recent visits to Denver have been just as frustrating.
The Nuggets look to beat the Bulls for the 10th time in 11 home contests Saturday night.
Denver (8-4) beat Chicago 90-89 on Nov. 10 after Chauncey Billups(notes) hit a go-ahead free throw with six-tenths of a second left. Brad Miller’s(notes) jumper at the buzzer was overturned following a lengthy replay review.
Not that Billups had a doubt about the decision.
“As soon as I saw the flight of the ball, I knew it was good,” he said. “Then, I was sitting and laughing. Not so much about the shot, but looking at their reaction. They were dancing and jumping around like they had just made the Sweet 16.”
While the Nuggets and Bulls have alternated decisions in the last 11 games, Denver has been much more consistent in recent matchups at home, winning three straight and nine of 10 going back to the 1999-2000 season.
Six of the 10 games, though, have been decided by 10 or fewer points, including four separated by four or less.
Denver, which is 4-0 at home this season, lost 106-99 Friday to the Clippers in Los Angeles. Carmelo Anthony(notes) scored 37 points, including 17 in the first quarter, but the Clippers led 56-46 at the half. The Nuggets opened the fourth with a 19-4 run that narrowed the gap to 92-90 with 6:10 to play, but Los Angeles pulled away after that.
Anthony finished 12 of 20 from the field. He’s shooting 63.6 percent in the last three games.
Denver was coming off back-to-back double-digit wins over the Lakers and Toronto. The Clippers had lost five of six.
“We have to somehow realize that we are everybody’s big game,” Billups said. “It’s a very tough loss, but we have to forget about this game and focus on tomorrow night.”
The Bulls (6-5), meanwhile, are looking to bounce back after a 108-93 loss to the Lakers on Thursday. Chicago gave up 100 points for only the second time this season as it struggled to contain Los Angeles’ big men. The Bulls trailed by as many as 24 points and gave up a season-high 60 in the paint.
Derrick Rose(notes) finished with 20 points, but was held to only four in the first half. He finished 9 of 20 from the field as he continues to struggle early in his second season. The reigning rookie of the year, who was limited in the preseason because of a strained tendon behind his right ankle, averaged 12.7 points on 39.5 percent shooting in his previous three games.
“He’s frustrated because he’s a competitive kid,” coach Vinny Del Negro told the NBA’s official Web site. “He’s not physically 100 percent, not in the condition he was (last season) just because of the injury. You just have to take a step back, give him some time.”
Del Negro’s team has four more games left on the annual Circus Trip, which began with a 101-87 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday. Chicago is 2-4 on the road this season.