Short-handed once again, the Houston Rockets dropped their eighth consecutive game on Monday, this time losing to the Chicago Bulls 120-100 inside the Toyota Center. This was Houston’s first game in five days after a winter storm postponed their previous two contests. With the loss, the Rockets fell to 11-18 on the season.
Any hopes of the Rockets ending their losing streak against the Bulls diminished during the third quarter. The Bulls extended their half a dozen halftime lead to 26 after scoring a season-high 46 points in the third period. Chicago shot a blistering 76 percent from the field during the quarter, 78 percent from behind the arc, as the Rockets had no defensive answer on how to prevent the Bulls from scoring.
The third quarter might’ve been the nail in the coffin, but the Rockets’ struggles against the Bulls started well before.
Another slow start resulted in the Rockets falling behind 23-9 early in the first quarter. John Wall, who tallied 15 points (4-14 FG, 1-3 3PT) in the loss, scored Houston’s first nine points. The five-time All-Star opened the game shooting 3-for-7 from the field, while the rest of the team missed their first 10 shots.
“It’s a mindset thing. At some point, the mindset has to change. The way we are starting games, we have to fight so hard to come back. And then the third quarter, we give up 46 points. We have to do better.” — Stephen Silas
The only silver lining for Houston was the productivity they received off the bench. The Rockets’ bench outscored Chicago’s second unit 45-34. David Nwaba scored a team-high 22 points, while Sterling Brown added 16 points in the loss.
“Those guys [Nwaba & Brown] just played hard as they always do. Playing hard and taking what the defense gives them. I was proud of those guys tonight. Definitely difference between them and the starting group.” — Silas
In his debut with the Rockets, Justin Patton provided Houston with a solid rim protector in the absence of Christian Wood. He recorded three blocks in the loss and pulled down six rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench.
The Bulls recorded their fourth victory in five games behind second-year guard Coby White. He notched a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds while connecting on 10 of his 16 shot attempts from the floor. In addition to White, Chicago had six players who scored in double figures in the win. Zach LaVine ended the night with 21 points (7-14 FG, 4-6 3PT) after scoring 14 third-quarter points.
The Bulls took advantage of the Rockets’ lack of size by winning the battle of the boards 55-46. Wendell Carter Jr. pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with 18 points.
Following the loss, the Rockets will try to get back to their winning ways on Wednesday when they take on the young and talented Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip-off is slated for 6:30 P.M. CT inside the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.