On paper, it was a very unbalanced poster between the 2nd in the Eastern Conference and the last in the NBA. Especially since Chicago found Nikola Vucevic and Alex Caruso, and Houston quickly lost Jalen Green.
And yet, the Rockets won 118-113 to end their ugly 15-game losing streak. It all happened in the 3rd quarter with Danuel House Jr catching fire while the Bulls led by 10 points (73-63). In its wake, the Rockets signed a 13-2 to take the lead (76-75). Eric Gordon comes to give him a hand, and poor DeMar DeRozan is very lonely to answer them (90-82).
The Bulls will come back several times thanks to Zach LaVine, but each time, Houston will find the 3-point which is good, by Danuel House Jr. again or Garrison Matthews. At +8 16 seconds from the end, the Rockets think they can breathe, but Zach LaVine, again, will sign five points in a row to make them tremble until the end. It is Matthews, on the throws, who delivers his teammates and the room for the first victory of the month, and the second of the season.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
The Bulls’ sufficiency. While they were leading by ten points, the Bulls stopped playing, and especially defending. The Rockets were certainly more aggressive, but Chicago did not chain the defensive stops, being satisfied to fall into the trap of the “hurray basket” of Houston. As Billy Donovan explained after the game, you can’t win an NBA game by only playing for a quarter.
Jalen Green’s start to the match. Before injuring himself, Jalen Green had made a magnificent start to the match, even allowing himself to catch Zach LaVine. Very irregular, not to say very awkward, for his debut in the NBA, the 2nd choice of the Draft had left to achieve his best game. Hit on a foul, he shot his shots before leaving his teammates with a left calf injury.
Offensive rebounds. More aggressive, Houston wins the rebound battle, and Christian Wood’s teammates transform their 7 offensive rebounds into 16 points! The Bulls take nine offensive rebounds, but they only score two points on shots in « second chance ».
TOPS / FLOPS
✅ Danuel House Jr. Jalen Green injured, Stephen Silas trusted his bench, and Danuel House Jr woke his teammates to 3-points: 4 of 4! It became contagious, and everyone got into it, including Armoni Brooks. The Rockets end the game 17 of 36 at 3 points, including an 8 of 11 in the third quarter alone.
✅ Alperen Sengun. He’s not the most talked about Rockets rookie but his potential is immense. Posterized by Ayo Dosunmu in the first half, the Turk did not sink, and his good hands or his glance allow him to be always where he is needed. He also took part in the 3-point competition in the second half. Perhaps the linchpin of Houston’s future.
⛔ Nikola Vucevic. Back on the pitch, the Montenegrin suffered in defense. He took six fouls in 26 minutes, and he still missed some easy things in attack. It’s just a matter of pace, but it’s a shame his big comeback resulted in a humiliating loss to Houston.
Chicago (12-7) : New trip, a priori easy, for the Bulls who go to Orlando on Friday.
Houston (2-16) : The Rockets have the opportunity to continue with the reception of the Hornets on Saturday night.