Nuggets drop first game of the new year

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Chicago 106, Denver 101

When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 1, 2015
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Officials: #76 Steven Anderson, #17 Joe Crawford, #42 Eric Lewis
Attendance: 21794

By SportsDirect Inc.

Bulls 106, Nuggets 101: Jimmy Butler collected 26 points, eight rebounds and eight assists and Pau Gasol narrowly missed a triple-double as Chicago fought off visiting Denver.

Gasol finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine blocks while Derrick Rose had 17 points and eight assists for the Bulls. Aaron Brooks chipped in 12 points off the bench as Chicago won for the eighth time in nine games.

Kenneth Faried recorded 18 points and 19 rebounds for the Nuggets, who dropped their third straight. Wilson Chandler scored 22 points, Ty Lawson added 20 points and seven assists and Arron Afflalo scored 19 for Denver.

The Nuggets used a 10-2 run to take an 86-83 edge but the Bulls bounced right back and went up 96-88 when Rose buried a 3-pointer, stole a pass and found Butler for a bucket with 3:33 left. Denver got within 100-97 on Jusuf Nurkic’s tip-in with 45 seconds left but Rose responded with a jumper and knocked down two free throws to help seal it.

The Nuggets ended the first half on a 20-7 run highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Chandler to take a 53-42 lead into the break. The advantage was still 11 points 5 1/2 minutes into the third before Chicago started chipping away, and a 7-0 burst sent them into the fourth in front 77-74.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Gasol’s effort helped the Bulls record a franchise-record 18 blocks. … Rose struggled to 7-of-25 from the floor and is 14-of-60 over the last three games. … Faried has pulled down at least 19 rebounds in three of the last four games.

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