- Associated Press - Friday, February 21, 2014

CHICAGO (AP) - This one was all over in the first quarter, right about the time Jimmy Butler’s only 3-pointer made it a 20-point game.

Another fast start for the Chicago Bulls sent the Denver Nuggets to an embarrassing loss for first-year coach Brian Shaw.

D.J. Augustin had 22 points and eight assists, and the Bulls routed the Nuggets 117-89 Friday night for their fifth consecutive victory.

“I just thought it was well-balanced,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “I thought it was strong on both sides of the ball.”

Rookie Tony Snell added a career-high 20 points as the Bulls put seven players in double figures. Taj Gibson had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Joakim Noah finished with 14 points, 11 boards and five assists.

Randy Foye scored 23 points for Denver, which has lost six of seven. Aaron Brooks had 17 on 7-for-11 shooting in 28 minutes in his Nuggets debut, which also included a technical foul when he was involved in a tussle with Noah in the third.

“I got a little bit more confident toward the end,” Brooks said. “You can tell the team is a little rusty as far as me getting in there, but I think we’ll figure it out.”

Denver acquired Brooks and forward Jan Vesely in a pair of trades on Thursday. The 7-foot Vesely had five points and five rebounds in 16 minutes.

While Shaw was pleased with the play of his newest players, he sounded frustrated when describing the rest of the roster.

“It felt like tonight we had some guys who just decided they weren’t going to play, they weren’t going to put forth any effort to get the job done,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. This is a nationally televised game, and we’re professionals. As a staff, we have to beg guys to give effort when we play.”

The Bulls shot 50 percent and outrebounded the Nuggets 50-40 while improving to 17-7 since Jan. 1. Chicago jumped to a 23-point halftime lead and then put it away with a 16-5 run at the end of the third quarter.

Mike Dunleavy, Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich had 10 points apiece for Chicago, which will go for a season-high sixth straight win Sunday at Miami.

“We feel like we’re playing at a high level,” Gibson said. “Our defense is phenomenal, I think.”

Forced to play short-handed due to the trades and a slew of injuries, Denver used only eight players in Thursday night’s 101-90 victory at lowly Milwaukee. Brooks and Vesely were cleared in time to play against Chicago, but the Bulls jumped all over the weary Nuggets right at the start.

“We act like a big, bad wolf against Milwaukee last night, then we come in tonight, nationally televised game against the Bulls, and we tuck our tails and hide,” Shaw said.

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