C.J. Watson's 33 Points Not Enough; Carmelo Anthony's Buzzer-Beater Beats Bulls, 98-97

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ANALYSIS: C.J. Watson Makes A Statement

The Bulls missed Derrick Rose Friday night in Denver, but they may have found another playmaker in C.J. Watson. The 6-2 guard, in his first year in Chicago after three seasons with the Golden State Warriors, had been dissed by a lot of Bulls fans as a wasted acquisition; in limited playing time his shooting percentage coming into Friday night was .369.

But in 43 minutes, Watson shot 50% from the floor (11-for-22) and scored 33 points. The Bulls pulled their normal modus operandi early by going down double digits -- the Nuggets scored the first 11 points in the game -- and the Bulls didn't take their first lead until the fourth quarter. Luol Deng and Joakim Noah pitched in with double-doubles.

Carmelo Anthony, rumored to be coming to the Bulls (as well as seemingly half the rest of the NBA) by trade, drained a buzzer-beater to win the game by one point for Denver. But the real key was John Lucas III, in his first game for the Bulls, missing two free throws just before that 'Melo shot. Had he made them, the Nuggets would have been forced to hit a three-pointer just to tie.

The Bulls can still wind up with a winning circus trip with a win in Sacramento tonight. And maybe they have found another offensive weapon.

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Carmelo Buries Bulls At Buzzer

Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Carmelo Anthony made a jumper as time expired to give the Denver Nuggets a 98-97 victory over the Chicago Bulls from Pepsi Center.

Anthony ended with 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Nuggets, who have won three in a row. Nene tallied 18 points and seven rebounds, while Ty Lawson finished with 17 points for the victors.

C.J. Watson poured in a season-high 33 points for the Bulls, who fell to 3-3 on a season-long seven-game road trip. Luol Deng added 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Joakim Noah tallied 17 points and 16 boards in defeat.

Kyle Korver’s three-pointer capped a small 7-0 burst to give Chicago an 85-82 edge with 6:05 remaining.

Trailing by three, 91-88, with 4:17 to play, Denver ripped off six straight points to take the lead. Lawson capped the flurry with a layup to make it a 94-91 game with 2:10 left.

Watson scored six consecutive points to give the Bulls a 97-94 lead with 30.3 seconds to go. Anthony made two free throws at the other end to make it a one- point game.

John Lucas III, who was signed by Chicago as a free agent earlier in the day, was sent to the charity stripe with 12.9 ticks remaining. He missed both free throws and Denver grabbed the rebound.

Anthony missed a fadeaway jumper at the other end. However, Chicago knocked the ball out of bounds with 4.0 seconds left. The ball went to Anthony, who drilled the game-winning shot.

“Luol played some good D at the end,” Anthony said. “I’ve got to take my hat off to him. But once I got a good look at the rim and just a little bit of space, I just raised up and shot.”

Deng said he thought he contested the shot well, and that a double-team wasn’t necessary.

“We were fine,” Deng said. “He was catching it at the three-point line. He’s all the way away from the basket. We stopped him the play before, we just couldn’t come up with the ball. He just hit a tough shot.”

The Nuggets scored the first 11 points of the game and took a 24-7 lead on Arron Afflalo’s trey with 5:33 left. The Bulls, though, ended the quarter on a 13-1 run to cut the gap to 25-20 after 12 minutes.

Denver outscored Chicago, 23-18, in the second stanza to take a 48-38 margin into the locker room.

The Nuggets scored the first eight points of the third to build a 56-38 margin. The Bulls stormed back with an impressive 29-12 burst, which Watson capped with a trey for a 68-67 game with 1:56 left.

Denver took a 76-73 lead into the fourth.

Game Notes

The home team has won nine of the last 10 meetings in the series…Denver, which is 6-1 at home, started a five-game homestand on Friday…Chicago guard Derrick Rose (neck spasms) missed the game.

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Bulls To Sign John Lucas III

According to Chicago Breaking Sports, the Bulls have signed John Lucas III and expect him to fly from Houston to Denver in time for tonight’s game against the Nuggets. The article says he’s expected to arrive in time for tonight’s 8 p.m. CST tipoff.

Lucas is the son of former NBA great and coach John Lucas, and last played in the league in 2007 with the Houston Rockets. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was a Rockets assistant during the two years the younger Lucas spent in Houston, so there’s familiarity on both sides. Lucas was with the Bulls during this year’s preseason and was the last player cut before the regular season started.

The Bulls are trying to get some depth in case Derrick Rose, who has had neck spasms, can’t play tonight.

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Chicago Bulls Vs. Denver Nuggets: Derrick Rose Has Neck Spasms

Uh-oh, say all Bulls fans.

Derrick Rose, who has some Bulls supporters thinking "MVP" already, and who has become one of the top players in the league, has neck spasms -- this according to Chicago Breaking Sports -- and his playing status for tonight will be "a gametime decision" from coach Tom Thibodeau.

"It's real sore," Rose said. "It started a little before the (Phoenix) game. It's been stiff ever since. If it's up to me, I'll play. But right now, I have to turn my whole body to look a certain way."

The Bulls have two tough games, tonight in Denver, then, strangely, backtracking to California to play the Sacramento Kings before returning home next Wednesday. Once they get home, they'll play eight of 11 in the United Center between Dec. 1 and Dec. 21, but first they'd like to at least get a split of the two games remaining on the trip in order to have a winning road trip.

Meanwhile, Taj Gibson, who sat out on Wednesday night in Phoenix, is hoping to play tonight; he says, "I feel good", and the Bulls could use his rebounding strength, especially if Rose can't play.

Tonight's game begins at 8 p.m. CST and will be televised on CSN Chicago.

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