Continued from page 1

Chicago used runs of 13-2 and 8-0 to open a 32-12 lead on Butler’s 3-pointer with 1 minute left in the first quarter. Brooks responded with seven straight points, but the Bulls led 32-19 after one.

In the continuation of an encouraging trend for Chicago, the Bulls have outscored their opponents by an average of 29.9 to 18.3 in the opening period over the last seven games, according to STATS.

The only issue for the Bulls from their latest fast start was the health of Butler, who bruised a rib late in the opening period. Thibodeau said he is day to day and could travel with the team to Miami on Saturday.

“It’s one of those things, with a rib, we have to see how he is when he gets up tomorrow,” Thibodeau said.

It was more of the same in the second. Snell had 10 points in the quarter on 4-for-5 shooting, helping the Bulls to a 69-46 lead at the break. It was a season-high point total for any half for Chicago and the most allowed by Denver in a half all season.

The Nuggets also lost Darrell Arthur to a strained left hip in the second, shelving the forward for the rest of the game. The team said he irritated a previous injury.

“It’s something in the groin, hip area,” Shaw said. “When he came out of the game, he said his hip was bothering him. I don’t know if it’s the exact same (injury as earlier this season), but it’s in that region.”

NOTES: Shaw said PG Ty Lawson (broken left rib) still feels some pain at times when he tries certain moves in practice. “I don’t know if he’s getting close or if he’s not,” Shaw said. “He says he’s feeling better.” Lawson has missed Denver’s last five games. … The Bulls‘ previous high for points in a half was 64 in the first half of a 107-104 loss at Philadelphia on Nov. 2. … Nuggets F Kenneth Faried was whistled for a flagrant foul for taking down Snell with 3:42 left in the third. Noah and Brooks then received technicals for their roles in a resulting skirmish.


Jay Cohen can be reached at