Nuggets drop Bulls (2-8) to worst start since 2004-05

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets feel like they finally have a defense to go with their prolific offense.

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points, Marcus Camby added 12 points and 20 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets beat the slumping Chicago Bulls 112-91 Tuesday night.

Allen Iverson scored 22 points and Kenyon Martin had 13 for the Nuggets, who have won six straight. Denver held the Bulls to 40 percent shooting.

Rookie reserve Joakim Noah had 16 points for Chicago, which fell to 2-8, its worst start since 2004-05 when it was 0-9. The Bulls are 1-3 on their current six-game road trip.

"We're playing defense like we haven't in the past, and it's showing," Martin said. "We've got two of the best scorers in the league, so we know our offense will take care of itself. Defensively, when we bring that focus every night, we're tough to beat."

The Nuggets have held three of their last six opponents to under 40 percent from the field. The Bulls shot 37.2 percent through the first three quarters before heating up against the Denver reserves in the fourth.

"I don't know what it is. There is no continuity out there and we are just struggling," said Ben Gordon, who was 2-for-14 from the field for Chicago. "It's not just me; it's everyone on the team. Collectively, we have to figure it out as a group and address it."

The Nuggets feel their defense had an impact on the Bulls, who came into the game shooting 38.8 percent.

"We've got five guys on the same page on the defensive end," Anthony said. "It's pretty hard for you to score the basketball."

Scoring hasn't been a problem for the Nuggets, who are averaging 114.7 points in their last four games.

"We're playing really well, and we just want to keep it up," Anthony said. "Take what we did here at home and take it on the road."

The Nuggets (8-3), like they did in their previous three games on this homestand, put this one away early. They led by 11 after the first quarter, and after Chris Duhon's 3-pointer and Joe Smith's jumper cut the lead to 36-32 with 10:51 left in the first half, they took over.

Eduardo Najera hit two 3-pointers and J.R. Smith had a 3 and a dunk to spark a 13-0 run that increased the lead to 49-32.

The Nuggets led by 19 at halftime, but the Bulls scored the first six points of the third quarter to make it 72-59. The Nuggets responded with a 10-0 run and increased their lead to 94-69 heading into the fourth.

"We got it to a manageable number again in the third, and then we missed a couple of shots, they scored twice and, boom, that was it," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said.

The Nuggets play three games in the next four nights, but they feel good after blowing out their last four opponents.

"We're confident, but we're not cocky," Smith said. "We know we can be beat."

The Bulls are searching for answers for their slow start.

"We are contemplating a lot of things and trying to get to the bottom of why we are playing this way," Skiles said.

Game notes
Chicago F Luol Deng missed his second straight game with a sore back. Deng, the team's second-leading scorer at 14.6 points a game, started all 82 games last year and the first eight this season. ... The Nuggets' 72 first-half points were a season high. ... The Bulls recovered from their bad start in 2004-05 to finish 47-35. ... The Nuggets outscored the Bulls 27-9 from the free-throw line. ... Kirk Hinrich and rookie Thomas Gardner had 14 points apiece for Chicago.