Despite the fact that the Nuggets had won 11 straight, the Bulls had to like their chances. They were the first home team with a winning record that Denver had faced during their winning streak.
Chicago trailed for most of the game, but thanks to a furious fourth-quarter rally this contest would require more than four quarters to determine the final outcome.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the extra session and the Bulls appeared to be in position to steal the game in the final moments.
Joakim Noah tipped in a miss by Marco Belinelli with less than two seconds to play to temporarily give the Bulls a one-point lead.
However, the officials reviewed the play and waved off the basket, enabling Denver to escape with a narrow 119-118 victory.
With the loss, the Bulls dropped to 36-30 and slipped to the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. Here are the positives and negatives from one of the most heart-breaking losses of the season for Chicago.
Despite the disappointing outcome, Chicago received solid contributions from several players. Nate Robinson scored a season-high 34 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the field to go along with seven assists.
Fans sometimes criticize his shot selection and rightfully so. However, Robinson did play an efficient game and his three-pointer helped send the game into the extra session.
Joakim Noah also had a monster game with a stat line of 14 points, 12 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists.
While the officiating was inconsistent at crucial junctures, there are a few areas where Chicago did not help its own cause.
For starters, they allowed the Nuggets to score a whopping 68 points in the paint. No, that is not a misprint.
This was disappointing because the Bulls knew this was one of the Nuggets' strengths from the first meeting between the two teams, but they failed to make the necessary adjustments.
Should Joakim Noah's basket have counted?
Another notable factor was that the Nuggets were able to get out and run in transition, outscoring the Bulls 30-8 in fast-break points.
When you don’t get back on defense, bad things usually happen. That was the case for the Bulls.
While the outcome of the game was not favorable, the Bulls showed a lot of heart. Thanks to their willingness to fight until the end, they almost pulled out a win against a very talented Nuggets team.
Unfortunately, their effort was not enough to get them over the hump.
More importantly, until Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson return to the fold, the Bulls will not have enough to win with in the foreseeable future.