The Chicago Bulls are en route to their longest losing streak this season, hoping to avoid a fifth straight loss as they battle the Houston Rockets in Texas. The Bulls are currently holding onto a 2-9 record on the road. The Rockets, on the other hand, are still trying to work things out as they look for their second straight victory. The Houston Rockets have a 4-5 record at home.
The Houston Rockets and the Chicago Bulls have played each other a total of 137 times in the past as the Rockets won 69 games while the Bulls were kept to just 68 wins. This meeting will mark the second and final time that these two teams will match up this season. The last time they played each other was on November 3 when the Houston team survived the Bulls, 96-88. During that game, James Harden scored twenty-five points, grabbed one rebound, dished off seven assists, and committed four steals while Zach LaVine had twenty-one points, four rebounds, four assists, and one steal.
-Tyler Ulis (G-League; 0.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG)
-Bobby Portis (knee; 10.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 41.5 FG%, 27.3 3P%, 55.6 FT%)
-Rawle Alkins (G-League)
-Kris Dunn (knee; 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, 30.8 FG%, 25.0 3P%)
-Denzel Valentine (ankle)
-Brandon Knight (knee)
-Carmelo Anthony (13.4 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.5 APG, 40.5 FG%, 32.8 3P%, 68.2 FT%)
-Zhou Qi (ankle; 2.0 PPG, 0.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 100.0 FG%)
-Vincent Edwards (G-League; 3.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 50.0 FG%, 50.0 3P%)
The Texas team would have full control in the first half as they shot forty-nine percent from the field, limiting the visiting team to thirty-nine percent. James Harden would be the only player to score double-digits in the half as he got hot for twenty-three points, knocking down four three-pointers in the process. He shot sixty-four percent from the field while recording three defensive rebounds, three assists, and one steal. Clint Capela helped out with seven points and eight rebounds while Chris Paul had five points, two rebounds, five assists, and one block. Paul had a three-pointer late in the beginning period as James Ennis was kept to four points. Eric Gordon played the most minutes off the bench as he scored nine points, including a three-pointer in the second quarter.
As for the Bulls, Zach LaVine chalked up fourteen points on sixty percent shooting. He also had a trey in the second period while grabbing four rebounds and committing two steals. Illinois-native Jabari Parker chipped in ten points while jumping up for five boards. Both Justin Holiday and Wendell Carter earned themselves six points. Lauri Markkanen played twelve minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer late in the first quarter as the Houston Rockets went into their locker room with a 56 to 46 lead.
The Houston Rockets would finish the job in the second half as they went on a 65 to 61 run, although both teams shot fifty-one percent from the field each. James Harden would cool down as he only had seven points in the second half, earning six of them from beyond the arc and one from the charity stripe. Capela would pick up the load as he warmed up with eleven points, shooting a high eighty percent from the field. P.J. Tucker chalked up eight points while Chris Paul had seven points. Paul had eight more assists to add to his stat column. LaVine continued to add to his scoring total, putting up seventeen more points but it was the Houston Rockets who stuck around to hand the Chicago Bulls a 121-105 loss. James Harden finished the game with thirty points, six rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one block while Zach LaVine had twenty-nine points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals, and two blocks.
The Chicago Bulls will head to Indianapolis to battle Bojan Bogdanovic (16.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 4.7 APG, 44.0 FG%, 34.5 3P%) and the Indiana Pacers (13-10) on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. This game will mark the second of four times that these two ball clubs will meet up this season. The last time they played each other was on November 2 when the Pacers crept away with a 107-105 win. During that game, Victor Oladipo scored twenty-five points, pulled down fourteen rebounds, dished out five assists, committed two steals, and prevented a shot from going in while Antonio Blakeney had twenty-two points and three rebounds.
The Houston Rockets will travel to the Target Center to clash with Karl-Anthony Towns (20.6 PPG, 12.0 RPG, 2.3 APG, 48.7 FG%, 39.6 3P%) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (11-12) on Monday at 8:00 p.m. This will be the first of three times that these two teams will battle each other during this season. The Rockets would sweep the regular season series against the Timberwolves last season, 4-0.