The Chicago Bulls overcame Tuesday’s loss with a great overall game against the Houston Rockets in a 111-87 win on Thursday night at the United Center.
Unlike the loss to San Antonio, Chicago started off strong. Kirk Hinrich opened the game with a 19-foot jumper on one end and a block on Patrick Beverly at the other end. Carlos Boozer then proceeded to score the Bulls’ next 10 points.
At the same time, Houston struggled to find the bottom of the basket, but calling a timeout was very helpful. After trailing 12-6, the Rockets were able to cut their deficit down to one; however, the Bulls retaliated with six points from Jimmy Butler to end the first quarter with a 25-20 lead.
Chicago extended its lead to nine points early into the second quarter, but a scoring drought allowed Houston to make a comeback. Jeremy Lin scored seven straight points, and the Rockets were only behind 31-27. The score remained close for a few possessions, but the backcourt duo of D.J. Augustin and Hinrich combined for 13 points for a 50-42 halftime lead.
About four minutes into the second period, though, Chandler Parsons drove for a layup and elbowed Mike Dunleavy in the right eye. Dunleavy was credited with a charge, but, as a result, blood poured out. He was taken back to the locker room tp be assessed; he suffered a facial laceration above his right eye.
After getting 10 stitches, Dunleavy returned to start the second half. In fact, he scored the first points of the third quarter and took another charge. That’s when the Bulls started to go off.
Boozer made a jumper, and then Dunleavy and Hinrich each made a pair of threes. The Bulls held a 63-42 lead, and the Rockets still had yet to score.
Houston finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter at the 7:09 mark. It was just too much from there, though. Chicago’s defense was too much. Dunleavy alone outscored the Rockets 18-16 in the third quarter as the Bulls took the 85-58 lead into the fourth quarter; however, the Bulls weren’t done.
Hinrich made two more threes. Joakim Noah got going a bit offensively with two jumpers and a pair of free throws. And as if Dunleavy’s 18 third-quarter points weren’t enough, he added another three before heading to the bench for good.
Dunleavy’s 21 points, all of which came in the second half, led the Bulls. Hinrich followed with 19 points, 15 of which came off of threes, four assists, two steals and a block. Boozer added 18 points of his own while Noah posted a near triple-double of 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
To put things into more perspective, Chicago shot 50.0 percent from the field and a whopping 58.3 percent on threes. Houston, on the other hand, was limited to 35.4 percent from the field and 19.2 percent on threes. Only three Rockets scored in double figures with Jeremy Lin’s 21 points leading the way.
The Bulls, now 36-29, will be back at the United Center on Saturday to take on the Sacramento Kings at 7 p.m. central.