HOUSTON — All it took was five seconds for Chicago Bulls’ forward, Javonte Green, to out-hustle Eric Gordon on the opening tip for a two-hand slam. Green’s dunk gave the Bulls a two-point advantage over the Houston Rockets and a lead Chicago would not relinquish.
Green would go on to score four points Monday night, as the Rockets sustained a 133-118 loss to the Bulls inside the United Center. The Rockets fell to a 10-21 record on the season. Houston and Chicago split their two-game series for the 2022 campaign.
Christian Wood led the Rockets with his 16th double-double of the year. He scored a team-high 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, but not even the most broad-shoulders could carry the Rockets to a victory in the Windy City given the sizzling offensive performance from the Bulls.
With Green setting the tone early, the Bulls took a 35-26 lead over the Rockets during the first quarter and scored a season-high 73 first-half points. Houston could not contain Chicago during the first 24 minutes of play, as the Bulls shot 60.0 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from behind the arc.
After scoring a season-high 38 points in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers less than 24 hours prior to Chicago’s match against Houston, DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 26 points after pouring in 18 during the first half.
The Rockets’ turnover issue peaked its head in Chicago after a string of games taking care of the ball. Houston committed 14 turnovers in the loss, in which the Bulls converted into 24 points.
However, the Bulls put together the second-best record in the East (19-10) based on their defense, as seven of the Rockets’ turnovers came by the way of Chicago’s steals.
In addition to Wood, six players scored in double-figures for the Rockets. Jae’Sean Tate added 16 points while Kenyon Martin Jr. scored 15 in the loss off the bench. Armoni Brooks provided the Rockets with a minor boost after missing the previous game due to a sore left ankle. Brooks scored 15 points while drilling three triples in his return.
Outside of Martin and Josh Christopher, who added 10 points, the Rockets did not receive much from their reserves in Chicago. The lack of productivity coming off the bench was a significant turning point for the Rockets, as the Bulls’ second unit outscored Houston 66-48.
Coby White led all reserves in scoring with 24 points while connecting on 55.5 percent of his shots from behind the arc.
After the loss, the Rockets will try to avoid back-to-back losses on Wednesday, when Houston faces off against the 19-13 Milwaukee Bucks. Tip-off is at 7 P.M. CT inside the Fiserv Forum.