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Bulls vs. Nuggets: Helpings of home games begins (7pm MST)

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After having to endure one of the NBA's most difficult schedules for their first 12 games, the Nuggets find themselves kicking off a five-game home stand with tonight's opponent - the Chicago Bulls - being the only team of the five playing plus-.500 ball right now.

Having already won two straight games against sub-par opponents, the Nuggets have been given a Thanksgiving feast by the NBA schedule-makers: five home games against mediocre opponents with ample rest between each game. The feast begins tonight when the Chicago Bulls - the best of this five-game bunch - make their lone annual appearance at Pepsi Center.

Playing on the road for over a week already, the Bulls have won three (at Houston, Dallas and Phoenix) and lost two (at the Lakers and at San Antonio). Capable of beating anyone - including our Nuggets as they did on November 8th - the Bulls have also had a pretty tough schedule to date and have only one bad loss on their ledger; to the Knicks at home on November 4th. Currently sitting at 8-5 in the standings, the Bulls will be the best team the Nuggets face during this home stand.

When we last saw these Bulls, the Nuggets were on the wrong end of a close 94-92 affair...the result of Bulls point guard Derrick Rose putting up eight points during the Bulls' fourth quarter rally and a miscommunication between Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups and shooting Arron Afflalo on the Nuggets final possession. But the real death knell for the Nuggets that night was their lack of assists (a mere 15 total) compared to their turnovers (18). In four of the Nuggets six losses, they've had less than 20 assists in the game.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Chicago is one of Carmelo Anthony's alleged "desired locations" along with New York and Los Angeles. And it's easy to see why. Adding Melo to a lineup already including Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer and you have the best team in the Eastern Conference overnight. But hey, I'd like to be six inches taller and jump a hell of a lot higher. Point being, we can't all get our fantasies to come true. And getting Melo into a Bulls uniform is incredibly unlikely given that the player who would have to be involved in any deal - Luol Deng - has one of the more unappealing contracts in the NBA.

Hopefully for the Nuggets and their fans, the boys in powder blue and gold will be in a festive, pass-happy mood. After all, having just won two straight against weak opponents and on the precipice of a five-game home stand, the Nuggets have much to be thankful for. Now they just have to take advantage of it.

On a side note, neither Nate, Jeff or myself can watch the game live tonight so Denver Stiffs reader "TChizza" will be writing the game recap.

SCOUTING THE BULLS...

Bulls Non-Stiffs

-Derrick Rose: Not so fast, John Wall. This other former John Calipari prodigy is averaging 26.3 ppg and 8.3 apg and almost posted a triple-double at Phoenix the other night with a 35/12/7 effort. Rose is quickly getting himself into the "best point guard in the NBA" conversation.

-Joakim Noah: Noah's rebounding, defense and energy/tenacity have never been in question. But now he's averaging 15.4 ppg, too. Watching Noah play, it's easy to see why the Bulls refuse to make Noah a part of any deal for the Nuggets Carmelo Anthony.

-Taj Gibson: Second-year man Taj Gibson has been doing yeoman's work filling for the injured Carlos Boozer at power forward. Gibson has a small forward's weight in a power forward's frame, but has been pulling down almost eight rebounds per game to go along with 12.4 ppg on 53% shooting and almost two blocks per contest. Gibson's development will make the Bulls even nastier when Boozer returns.

Bulls Stiffs

-Brian Scalabrine: Scalabrine gives former Nugget and Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame nominee Tim Kempton a run for his money on the list of famous chubby red heads in NBA history. This former Boston fan favorite has quickly become a Chicago fan favorite, proving that some NBA teams still save their 13th roster spot for the slow white guy.

-Keith Bogans: It's never a good sign when your starting shooting guard "shoots" 36.1% from the field.

-Omer Asik: At 7'0", 255 pounds the Turkish Asik will be going head-to-head with the Knicks' Timofey Mozgov as the biggest imported Stiff of the 2010-11 season.

FINAL THOUGHT

The Bulls are playing good basketball (winning six of their last eight) and stand in the way of the Nuggets putting together a seven-game winning streak. I suspect the Bulls have been in Denver acclimating to the altitude for several days now, so tonight's game will be a close one.

Opposition's Take: Blog-a-Bull