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Bulls begin Circus Trip in Denver

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls embark on their annual trek across America, aka the "Circus Road Trip," Thursday night when they visit the Pepsi Center to meet the Denver Nuggets.

The circus comes to the United Center in Chicago and forces the Bulls to hit the road. It will be six games away from home for a Bulls team that has won five straight, but is also just 1-3 as a visitor this season.

"The way we've always approached it -- and we're not going to change -- is that we're not looking at it as a long road trip," head coach Tom Thibodeau told the team's website. "We're just looking at it as getting ready for Denver. That's why you want to establish a routine of preparation and you approach it the same way every game. If you look at it that way, prepare yourself and do the right things, the results will take care of themselves."

As if a six-game road trip wasn't daunting enough, the Bulls announced on Wednesday that starting two guard Jimmy Butler didn't travel with the team. He has what is commonly referred to as turf toe and is listed as week-to-week.

The Bulls collected their fifth straight win on Monday with an 86-81 home victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Luol Deng led Chicago with 21 points and eight rebounds. Butler had 14 points, followed by 12 apiece from Derrick Rose and Carlos Boozer, who pulled down 17 rebounds in the win. Joakim Noah managed 11 points.

Monday's victory came after the Bulls knocked the Indiana Pacers from the ranks of the unbeaten. They visit Portland, Los Angeles to take on the Clippers, Utah, Detroit and Cleveland before returning home on Dec. 2.

The Nuggets have dropped two straight, although they were reasonable setbacks. Denver lost Saturday night in Houston, then fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 115-113 Monday night.

The Nuggets held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter against OKC, but succumbed to Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka.

Ty Lawson, who is off to an amazing start this season, netted a team-high 29 points. J.J. Hickson had 18 points and 19 rebounds, while Randy Foye, Evan Fournier and Nate Robinson scored in double figures.

Thursday's contest will feature the seventh-best scoring team (Nuggets) against the second-best defense (Bulls).

"Our offensive execution has to be on point," Denver coach Brian Shaw said. "Typically, their games are lower-scoring games and they're kind of an ugly, grind-it-out style. You have to be able to score, which means you have to take care of the ball and get a shot on every possession."

The Nuggets have won four straight over the Bulls and six in a row and 12 of 13 at home in this series.

11/21 10:45:50 ET

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