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Nuggets 97, Bulls 87

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Forward Jordan Hamilton came off the bench to score 17 points, forward J.J. Hickson had 14 points and nine rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Chicago Bulls 97-87 Thursday night.

Chicago guard Derrick Rose scored 19 points -- just four in the second half -- and forward Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.

The Bulls suffered their fifth consecutive loss to Denver.

The Nuggets (5-6) led by two at half but stretched it to nine on forward Darrell Arthur's baseline jumper with 1:09 left in the third quarter. Denver led 70-62 heading into the fourth.

The game could have been higher-scoring at that point, but neither team shot well in the third quarter from the field or the foul line. The teams combined to go 6-for-15 from the line and together made 13 field goals in the third.

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson changed things to start the fourth. The former Bull hit two 3-pointers and a technical free throw in the first 1:04 of the final quarter to stretch Denver's lead to 77-62.

Hamilton followed with back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 83-62 with 9:40 left.

The Bulls, already struggling from the field, missed their first nine shots of the fourth to allow Denver to break it open.

Rose looked as if he would easily surpass his season high of 20 points accomplished against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, but he slowed down in the second half. He had 15 points midway through the second quarter and kept Chicago close. The Bulls (6-4) went on an 8-2 run to close out the half down just 50-48.

The Nuggets came into the game averaging 20.4 attempts from behind the 3-point arc, but they didn't take their first long-distance attempt until 28 seconds into the second quarter, when Hamilton banked one in to beat the shot clock.

NOTES: Bulls G Jimmy Butler (right toe injury) missed a for the first time this season. Mike Dunleavy moved into the starting lineup in place of Butler, and he scored 15 points. ... Nuggets G Nate Robinson played despite an injured right wrist, which is his dominant hand. Robinson practiced this week shooting left-handed jumpers and layups. ... The Bulls' five-game skid against the Nuggets is their longest active losing streak to a team. They haven't beaten Denver since Nov. 8, 2010, in Chicago. ... Nuggets F Wilson Chandler started his second game in a row after coming off the bench for the first three games. He missed the first six games of the season with a hamstring injury and returned against the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 13. Chandler finished with no points and three rebounds in 27 minutes Thursday.
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