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Rose waxes hot in second half as Bulls open 2015 with win against Nuggets

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 26 points. Getty Images
Derrick Rose scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Denver Nuggets 106-101 on Friday (Philippine Time).

Jimmy Butler scored 26 for Chicago, and Pau Gasol added 17 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine blocks.

The late surge by Rose lifted the Bulls to their 11th win in 13 games. The 2011 NBA MVP missed his first eight shots, including all seven in a scoreless first half, but the point guard dominated down the stretch, coming up with one big basket after another.

Wilson Chandler led Denver with 22 points. Ty Lawson scored 20, while Arron Afflalo had 19 points. Kenneth Faried added 18 points and 19 rebounds, but the Nuggets fell to 4-12 on the road.

Chicago, which trailed by 13 early in the third, was clinging to a 100-97 lead after Denver's Jusuf Nurkic scored on a layup with 46 seconds left.

Rose then nailed a jumper, and the Bulls hung on after Faried dunked with 22 seconds remaining to get the Nuggets within three again. Chicago's Aaron Brooks hit two free throws to make it a five-point game before Nurkic hit two of his own after he got fouled trying to dunk on Taj Gibson with 11 seconds left. But Rose then hit two more foul shots to make it 106-101.

The Bulls were trailing 74-70 late in the third quarter when Gasol blocked Nurkic. Butler then got fouled and hit two free throws, sparking a nine-point run.

The crowd came unglued when Kirk Hinrich nailed a 3 from the corner with 16 seconds left, giving the Bulls a three-point lead, and Gasol capped the run with a running hook to make it 79-74 22 seconds into the fourth.