The Chicago Bulls are a good road team with a 17-8 record which is good enough for second in the Eastern Conference in terms of wins. The Bulls are on a six game road trip but have dropped their last two games to the Lakers and Suns.
The Rockets are back home after dropping a game at Detroit. Today Dwight Howard had a procedure on his knee and will be out indefinitely.
Derrick Rose is playing in his 12th consecutive game, his most since the 2010-11 season. Rose got off to a good start scoring eight points in the first quarter. The Bulls did a good job of contesting three pointers and knocking down their own. They were 4-8 from downtown while the Rockets were only 2-8.
James Harden did a good job of letting his teammates get shots up to start the game. Donatas Motiejunas took seven shots in the quarter and did a good job of scoring against Joakim Noah. Harden was unable to get to the line as he shot just 3-8 from the field.
Houston was able to outscore the Bulls in the paint as both teams ended the first quarter tied at 27.
Josh Smith had great energy for the Rockets off the bench. He only scored eight points but grabbed six rebounds and contested a lot of shots.
The second quarter was dominated by James Harden. When he re-entered the game he scored 13 straight points. He finally took his first free throw of the game at the 2:08 mark. He went on to score 15 points in the quarter to enter halftime with 22 points.
Jimmy Butler only took one shot in the second quarter as he was trying to contain James Harden. Butler and Gasol scored nine points apiece for the Bulls. Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 15 points. Although he only scored one point Joakim Noah grabbed 12 rebounds and moved well on both ends of the floor.
The Rockets were able to knock down some three pointers as they held the Bulls to only one three pointer. Houston took a 57-48 lead into the half.
The Bulls started the third quarter by missing 11 straight shots. They managed to score two points until the 6:33 mark. Chicago just settled for a lot of mid-range jumpers. When they attacked they were unable to finish around the basket.
During this stretch Houston was able to push the lead to 16 points. However the Rockets were not able to put the game away and the Bulls rallied back. James Harden was held scoreless in the quarter. Patrick Beverly attacked off the pick & roll to score eight points.
After missing 11 straight the Bulls hit eight of their last 14 shots. Jimmy Butler got the better of Harden in the third quarter, scoring 11 points. He led the way as the Bulls ended the third quarter on a 14-4 run to cut the lead to just five points heading into the fourth quarter.
The Bulls closed the third quarter strongly but could not capitalize on it in the fourth. They missed 9 straight shots to start the quarter. They didn’t score until the 7:52 mark when Butler knocked down some free throws. They didn’t hit a field goal until the 6:28 mark.
Without James Harden the Rockets went on a 15-2 run to extend their lead to 18 points. The Rockets were flying around on the defensive end. They forced the Bulls into four quick turnovers which led to easy baskets.
The Bulls tried to fight back and cut the lead to nine points but it was too little too late. Trevor Ariza knocked down a dagger jumper with 56 seconds left.
After a brilliant first half James Harden only scored five points in the second half. Harden finished with 27 points while Ariza scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. Josh Smith came off the bench to score 9 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Houston held on for a 101-90 victory.
Chicago dominated the glass 60-47 but they only shot 34%. Jimmy Butler led the way with 27 points while Derrick Rose added 23 points. Noah finished with one point but grabbed 19 rebounds. The Bulls have lost four of five.
Next up for the Rockets is a home game against the Bucks on Friday.
Next up for the Bulls is a road game against the Pelicans on Saturday.