Thomas’ last-second tip-in lifts Bulls over Nuggets
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Tyrus Thomas tipped in the game-winning layup
with .2 seconds on the clock, as the Chicago Bulls edged a 109-108 victory
over the Denver Nuggets, who had their season- high five-game winning streak
ended at the United Center.
Trailing by one, Chicago caught a break on its final possession. Ben Gordon
got trapped in the corner and then recovered a loose ball to get off a jumper,
in which Thomas tipped for the game-winner with .2 seconds showing on the
Denver is now one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers, who edged Memphis
121-119 earlier in the evening, for the sixth spot in the Western Conference
playoff race; while the Bulls are No. 5 in the East.
Gordon scored 25 points for Chicago, which has won five of its last seven and
wrapped up a short two-game homestand. Luol Deng posted 22 points and a
season-high tying 14 rebounds, while Kirk Hinrich notched 21 points and eight
assists for the Bulls, who are 26-9 at home this season and scheduled to visit
the Indiana Pacers on Sunday at Conseco Fieldhouse.
“It was a good win, a win we needed,” Chicago coach Scott Skiles said. “Both
teams had moments when they played well and other moments when both teams did
not play well.”
Allen Iverson scored 31 points and Carmelo Anthony 28 for the Nuggets, who
played the second of a five-game road trip and are a respectable 15-15 on the
road this season. Nene posted 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who
will also visit Toronto, Cleveland and Detroit on the current swing.
Trailing 99-92 just past the midway point of the fourth, Chicago went on a 9-2
run sparked by a P.J. Brown jumper to tie things at 101 with 3:20 to go.
About a minute later, Linas Kleiza drilled a three, but Deng scored on a
layup, as the teams traded one-point leads heading toward the final minute.
Nene then converted a pair of free throws with 32.4 seconds left, but Gordon
swished a jumper at 23.6 to reclaim the one-point lead for Chicago, 107-106.
Iverson kept the ball on the ensuing possession and scooted down the right
lane for a layup with 13.1 seconds on the clock, as the one-point margin swung
back to Denver for the last time.
Trailing by one, 26-25, heading into the final first-quarter minute, Denver
went on a 9-2 burst capped by Kleiza’s trey at the buzzer for a 34-28 lead
heading into the second.
After Eduardo Najera’s tip shot 45 seconds into the second quarter, Chicago
rattled off 10 straight points highlighted by a pair of buckets and pair of
free throws by Deng. The Bulls maintained a slight edge down the stretch to
lead 55-51 at halftime.
With the score knotted at 77 at the two-minute mark of the third, the Nuggets
went on a 7-3 spurt snapped by a Gordon jumper with six ticks remaining for an
84-82 lead heading into the fourth.
“The effort was definitely there,” Iverson said. “We put ourselves in the
position to win. But, they got a lucky bounce. That’s the way it goes,
This was the second and final meeting of the season between the clubs. On
November 21st, J.R. Smith scored 36 points to lead the Nuggets to a 113-109
win over the Bulls at the Pepsi Center…Denver has split its last four at
Chicago…The Nuggets failed to sweep the season-series for the first time
since the 2003-04 campaign.