FINAL FROM HOUSTON: Rockets 118 Bulls 86 (24-50, 9-28)

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 22. Houston: Gordon: 31.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Vonleh: 12. Houston: Tucker: 8
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Payne, Grant, Valentine, Vonleh each with 3. Houston: Paul: 10

CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: The notion that playing without James Harden and Clint Capela might side track the Rockets was erased early when the Rockets got in a comfortable groove and did what they do best: make three point shots. Eric Gordon got it going early and connected on eight- three point shots and finished with 31 points. Lauri Markkanen enjoyed a solid night with 22, 14 points coming in the first quarter. In the third quarter the Bulls cut Houston’s lead by eight but in a blink of an eye the Rockets’ put together a 16-2 run and that was it.The Bulls simply ran out of gas and fatigue set in chasing the Rockets’ side to side and in transition.

Noah Vonleh registered his second double-double as Bulls (10 points - 12 rebounds) and newcomer Sean Kilpatrick made his Bulls’ debut scoring 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench.

CCI STAT OF THE NIGHT: 57. The Rockets attempted 57 - 3s on the night. They shot 31%.

UP NEXT: At Miami Thursday night.


Miami 98 Cleveland 79. A season low in points for the Cavs who haven’t won in Miami (4-0 Heat) since LeBron returned to Cleveland. The Cavs clinging to the third seed leading Philly by only one-half game.

LAC 105 Milwaukee 98. The Clippers trail Minnesota by 1 1/2 games for the eighth and final seed with eight games remaining.

Washington 116 San Antonio 106. The Wizards end a three game slide. The Spurs lost LaMarcus Aldridge in the second quarter with a knee injury.

Indiana 92 Golden State 81. The Warriors played without their four All Stars. Enough said.

Toronto 114 Denver 110. The Nuggets have lost four out of their last six; two straight. Denver is in serious trouble regarding its playoff hopes. Not a good time to lose a key player (Gary Harris) and suffer losses.

Portland 107 NOLA 103. Damian Lillard scored 20 of his 41 points in the 4th quarter. He will miss the Memphis game to celebrate the birth of his son.

Dallas 103 Sacramento 97. That’s all I got.

Thanks for reading CCI. E mail me at cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls.

Always a pleasure!