Keys To The Game: Bulls at Rockets (11.24.21)

Remind Me Later

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The Bulls suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. On top of the schedule seeming to catch up to the Bulls from a fatigue perspective, Indiana's size in the paint was a difficult matchup for Chicago sans Nikola Vucevic.

Entering Wednesday night, the Bulls have hopefully flushed that loss out of their memories as they take on a young Rockets team in Houston.

The Rockets currently sport the worst record in the league at 1-16, so if the Bulls play their usual brand of basketball they should be able to control Wednesday night's action.

Attack Houston's Perimeter Defense

The Rockets have a better defensive rating than one would expect with so many young players littered throughout the roster. Houston head coach Stephen Silas deserves a ton of credit for the effort this group plays with on D. All that being said, personnel-wise, Houston doesn't have many players who matchup up well guarding DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine.

Whether Houston attempts to push the pace or slow things down, LaVine and DeRozan should be hunting to get Green or Porter matched up on them. Jae'Sean Tate is Houston's most hard-working and versatile defender, but the Rockets still are 26th in the league in personal fouls.

Chicago should be able to get easy offense from the charity stripe on Wednesday night.

Zach LaVine shooting a free throw

Don't lose track of Christian Wood

Christian Wood is the Rockets premier player and has continued to put great numbers despite Houston's glaring lack of on-court success. Through 17 games, Wood is averaging a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double with 2 assists per game.

Chicago, like they do against any talented post scorer without Nikola Vucevic on the floor, will need to crowd Wood on the catch and keep him from getting into a rhythm from the low post.

The catch here for the Chicago defense is that Wood is a career 36% 3-point shooter. He's not shooting the 3-ball as well this year (30%) but either way the Bulls defense needs to make sure not to let out a sigh of relief when Wood spaces out to the perimeter, as he can stretch a defense out quite a bit with his shooting ability.

Christian Wood drives to the rim against the New York Knicks

Avoid Another Letdown

The blowout loss to the Pacers was quite the unusual one of the 2021-22 Chicago Bulls. This year's Bulls squad has blended together an impressive three-headed scoring monster and a speedy and aggressive defense to start off the year as one of the more surprising success stories in the NBA.

Whether is was fatigue or just generally a bad matchup, losses like Monday's can't happen for the new-look Bulls, who clearly have big aspirations.

Personnel-wise, it doesn't appear on paper, that there is an easy way for Chicago to struggle in this game. But we have seen before how one cold-shooting stretch can put a team behind the eight-ball.

The Bulls need to come out with peak energy and focus and show that without a doubt, they are still one of the Eastern Conference's more consistent teams.

Ayo Dosunmu and Lonzo Ball in front of the Bulls bench
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