On Tom Thibodeau’s Christmas list, he asked for just one thing, “‘Just get a win.’” Unfortunately for him and Bulls fans everywhere, the complete opposite was given as the Bulls fell to the Houston Rockets 97-120.
In the beginning of the first quarter, the Bulls and Rockets were playing pretty evenly. The score was not one-sided, but as time progressed, Chicago lost their ability to finish while Houston continued to score. With 5:12 remaining in the first quarter, Houston was up 18-10, but this was only the start of the terror. The Bulls had already been out-rebounded and were settling for jumpers. Kirk Hinrich and Marco Belinelli both got plenty of good looks, but neither could connect on the majority of them.
Houston took a timeout with 2:37 left in the first quarter, and following that, the Bulls got some offense going. Hinrich assisted Taj Gibson to get a turnaround jumper. Luol Deng hit a jumper from the top of the key to cut the lead to 4. The last shot of the quarter went to Hinrich, who finished off with a running jumper to beat the buzzer. The Bulls trailed 22-27 one quarter into the game.
To start the second quarter, the Bulls did not perform any better than they had already. Instead, they let their offense become sloppy and continued to allow Houston to score. Chicago had back-to-back turnovers that led to a 24-33 deficit for Chicago. Their ball handling was sloppy, and they continued their poor defense. Houston kept finding offensive opportunities in the paint while the Bulls kept settling for jumpers. This led to a 17-point lead for the Rockets at halftime.
Chicago got off to a slow start to open the second half as they did not score until about 2:30 into the third quarter. Hinrich hit a long right-wing jumper followed by a jumper from the left-elbow by Carlos Boozer. But the Bulls still failed to play effective defense and were not attacking the basket. Thibodeau eventually turned to his bench once the Bulls were trailing 51-82. Chicago got threes from Nate Robinson and Belinelli in the second half of the third quarter, but the Bulls still trailed 68-94 once the third quarter completed.
The fourth quarter featured a spark of energy from Robinson, who led the bench to get some offensive production. Robinson continued to score, whether it was by draining the long ball, driving to the bucket, or getting to the charity stripe. Marquis Teague got a couple of baskets, but the bench play, productive in an offensive aspect, did not make up for the lack of defense. Despite the lead being cut down to as much as 15 points, the Rockets continue to score and would not be stopped.
With offensive struggles and a ineffective defense, the Bulls found their second straight loss and a new record of 15-12. The former Bull Omer Asik continued to shine leading the Rockets with 20 points and 18 rebounds, while Nate Robinson led the Bulls with 27 points, all in the second half. The Rockets have now won the season series 2-0.
The Bulls have a chance to bounce back from the losses tomorrow night as they face the Indiana Pacers at 6:00 PM CT.