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Bulls come up short in Houston

Bulls fall to 30-20 on the season

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By Sam Smith | 2.4.2015 | 9:35 p.m. CT

It was the Bulls Wednesday with a problem in Houston as they lost 101-90 to the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets took control of the game in the second quarter and led the rest of the way. The Bulls made one brief run to close the third quarter, but were dominated to start the fourth.

The Bulls got some good performances as Jimmy Butler had 27 points and Derrick Rose had 23. Rose also had the highest plus/minus, meaning the team did best when he was on the floor. Joakim Noah had a season high 19 rebounds and six offensive. But Noah had just one point. Pau Gasol added to his league lead in double/doubles with 16 points and 12 rebounds. James Harden for Houston had 27 points and Trevor Ariza with a late array of threes to hold off the Bulls in the fourth quarter added 20 points.

The Bulls fell to 30-20 and 17-9 on the road while the Rockets are 34-15.

It was a closely contested first quarter, with the teams tied at 27 after one. Harden, who many believe is one of the leaders for league MVP, took on the Bulls almost single handedly in the second quarter, at one point scoring 13 consecutive points and Houston went on to take a 57-48 halftime lead. It looked like the Rockets might take over by opening up a 65-50 lead to start the second half, but the Bulls got it together to close the third behind Butler and moved within 75-70 after three quarters. But the Rockets opened the fourth quarter with a 13-0 start to take an 88-70 lead as Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau rushed back Rose and Noah. It proved too late and the Bulls never could make any serious run to get back in the game.

Observations:

1. The reserves again put the Bulls in deep holes as the Rockets took advantage of starters going out to change momentum late in the first quarter and to start the fourth quarter.

2. The Bulls offense remained mostly stagnant even with four days off with a considerable number of shots both late in the 24-second clock and through isolations.

3. Joakim Noah’s hustle kept the Bulls competitive on the boards, but not enough to overcome poor shooting again. The Bulls shot 34.8 percent