Thomas' game-winning basket lifts Bulls past NuggetsMar 23, 2007 - 5:22 AM Chicago (Ticker) -- Rookie Tyrus Thomas was in the right place at the right time.
Thomas tipped in the game-winner with two-tenths of a second remaining as the Chicago Bulls posted an exhilarating 109-108 triumph over the Denver Nuggets, who had a season-high five-game winning streak stopped.
Ben Gordon scored 25 points and Luol Deng chipped in 22 and a season high-tying 14 rebounds for Chicago, which avenged its 113-109 loss to Denver on November 21 at the Pepsi Center.
"It wasn't pretty," said Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich, who had 21 points and eight assists. "We did not shoot a high percentage, we just got it done when we needed to. We will take this game and we needed this win."
In the fourth quarter, Gordon drained a pull-up jumper in the lane to help the Bulls take a 107-106 with 23 seconds.
However, superstar Allen Iverson answered back with a driving layup 10 seconds later as the Nuggets regained the lead to set up Thomas' heroics.
After Gordon missed a jumper from the baseline, Deng kept the ball alive on the glass as Thomas raced through the lane to score the go-head basket, ending Chicago's two-game slide.
"It was good for our team. Hopefully this is something we can build in," Thomas said. "It was just a great feeling. At the end everyone was diving for the ball and giving their all. I am glad we got the win."
"It was a good win that we needed," Bulls coach Scott Skliles said. "Both teams had moments where they played well and did not play well. It was the kind of game that you would rather win than lose. We hustled at the end and fought hard for it."
Taken fourth overall by Portland in June's draft, Thomas finished with nine points and a season-best 11 rebounds.
"Coach told me he wants me on the floor at the end of the games, to do that I have to stay out of foul trouble," Thomas said. "I have to be smart so I can stay in at the end."
"He (Thomas) was good and he was active. He plays in bursts," Skiles said. "He has 3 1/2 minutes where he plays well and he gets active, then there is other minutes where he is not."
Iverson scored 31 points and Carmelo Anthony added 28 for Denver, which shot 55 percent (41-of-74) from the floor but committed 22 turnovers.
"I would rather lose by a 100 points than to lose like this," Anthony said. "We have another game (Friday) and we have to bounce back."
An eight-time All-Star, Iverson surpassed Miami's Shaquille O'Neal to become the all-time leading scorer for an opponent at the United Center with 483 career points here.
"The effort was definitely there, and we put ourselves in a position to win," Iverson said. "Then they just got a lucky bounce, that's the way it goes though."
With the loss, the Nuggets (34-32) fell one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers (36-32) for sixth place in the Western Conference standings.
CHICAGO 109 FINAL
Mar 22 11:01 PM
CHICAGO 82 END, 3RD QTR
Mar 22 10:24 PM
CHICAGO 55 HALFTIME
Mar 22 9:37 PM
CHICAGO 28 END, 1ST QTR
Mar 22 9:08 PM
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