Rapid reaction: Nuggets 98, Bulls 97

DENVER -- Let's take a quick look at how the Nuggets came back to stun the Bulls 98-97 on Friday night at Pepsi Center.

How it happened: Playing without Derrick Rose (stiff neck), the Bulls looked flustered and lost at times on offense early on. Once again, they fell behind and had to dig themselves out of a 19-point hole, but Luol Deng and C.J. Watson (starting in place of Rose) found their offensive groove and helped propel them back into the lead late in the 4th. Watson played very well down the stretch finishing with 33 points, but it wasn't to be. John Lucas III, playing in his first game with the Bulls after being signed earlier in the day, missed two free throws with 12.9 seconds. Carmelo Anthony drained a game-winner as time expired and the Bulls were left heartbroken.

What it means: You knew the Bulls were going to struggle without Rose, but they had the game won. Watson deserves a lot of credit for stepping up in Rose's place, as does the whole team for the way they battled back throughout the night. This game will be remembered for Thibodeau's decision to re-enter Lucas back into the game with 24 seconds left. He barely played in the second half, but Thibodeau felt confident enough in Lucas III to put him in with the game on the line. This will be the most second-guessed Thibodeau will have been in his first month as the head coach of the Bulls.

Stat of the night: The Bulls were 4-for-20 from the 3-point line.

What's next: The Bulls wrap up the circus trip Saturday night in Sacramento against the Kings. With a win, the Bulls will secure their first winning trip since 1998. It will be interesting to see how the players respond on the final night of a two-week trip, especially considering the team will be playing its fourth game in five nights. A win may hinge on whether Rose will be able to play or not.