How it happened: Jordan Hamilton had 17 points off the bench for the Nuggets as they pulled away from the Bulls down the stretch. J.J. Hickson scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Denver. Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 19 points and looked more aggressive driving to the rim -- but it wasn't enough for Tom Thibodeau's team.
What it means: The Bulls' problems in this one were twofold. First and foremost, the offensive consistency continues to be a problem. The Bulls have had a problem all season scoring points in bunches and Thursday night was no exception. Chicago did not have enough firepower to match up with Denver's run-and-gun style. Once Rose struggled to get going in the second half -- he only had four points in the final 24 minutes -- the Bulls didn't have anywhere else to turn.
Secondly, the loss of Jimmy Butler (turf toe) is really going to hurt the Bulls because it cuts into what was already a thin bench. With Mike Dunleavy Jr. now starting and Kirk Hinrich playing more minutes, the Bulls' bench didn't have much of an impact. Thibodeau really only trusted Dunleavy, Hinrich and Taj Gibson off the bench -- his rotation has become shorter and the group's impact, as a whole, is smaller than ever. Nazr Mohammed isn't going to give the Bulls anything offensively and Marquis Teague's offense is sporadic at best in the limited minutes he gets.
Hits: The Bulls outscored the Nuggets 50-36 in the paint.
Misses: Luol Deng was just 3-for-18 from the field.
Stat of the night: The Nuggets' bench outscored the Bulls' 49-21.
What's next: The Bulls are right back at it Friday night when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers.