Home teams won all eight NBA games Tuesday night, and typical was the contest played in Chicago between the Bulls and Denver. Chicago handed the Nuggets an opportunity to win the game with 11 seconds remaining but the Nuggets handed it right back as if they would have insulted their hosts by winning.
Chicago thus held on for a 99-96 victory, the Bulls' sixth straight. For Denver, it was the first loss after five straight triumphs. The victory moved Chicago to within one game of Denver.
The Bulls called timeout after a basket by Denver's Bobby Jones cut Chicago's lead to 97-96 with 16 seconds to play.
"We just wanted to get it and hold it." Chicago coach Ed Badger said. "We didn't have to shoot and we knew they would foul."
But when Nick Weatherspoon failed to inbound the ball within five seconds, the Bulls turned it over.
Denver put the ball in play but Brian Taylor lost it to Wilbur Holland with six seconds left, then fouled the Chicago guard. Holland sank both free throws to clinch the game.
The Nuggets had rallied from a 90-76 deficit with 6:07 to play behind Dan Issel, who scored 11 ot his 13 points in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 1:47 to go. Denver hurt itself by making only 20 of 36 free throws.
"Those missed free throws hurt but I was thrilled by our comeback," Denver coach Larry Brown said, "Issel was badly missed."
Denver's David Thompson led all scorers with 24 points while Artis Gilmore topped Chicago with 20.
In other games Tuesday night: left, moving Atlanta ahead, 106-105. Bob McAdoo led New York with 30 points.