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Bulls vs. Rockets final score: Bulls rested, but still blown out

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Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls looked like they needed a rest after stumbling the past few weeks, but after 5 days off they looked just as bad, losing 101-90 in Houston.

After an even first quarter, James Harden had a spectacular 2nd , hitting every attempt on his way to 15 points. He both put Butler on skates in isolation, and went right through whatever the Bulls tried to call a 'help' defense at that point.

Down 9 at half, the Bulls went 1-11 from the field to start the third quarter as the deficit swelled to 16 at its worst. The Rockets also missed some wide-open looks (including a botched dunk and a couple layups) which opened the door for the Bulls to stage a comeback. It was mostly Jimmy Butler, who had 11 in the quarter to Harden's zero, and led the Bulls to within 5 to start the 4th.

Then the wheels kind of fell off...well, again. Houston started the 4th on a 13-0 run, pretty much entirely fueled by fast-break points (and horrible Bulls post entry-passing), and it rendered the final frame to being a place to just make jokes about the Bulls to keep from crying. At one point it did get to 10 again, and the Bulls kept their starters in to get there, but they were never truly close again.

Harden finished with only 5 points in the second half to have 27 for the game. Butler was, by far, the Bulls best player, matching Harden with 27 himself on 9-18 shooting. Joakim Noah had a frustrating night, showing solid activity (the Rockets were small all game with no Dwight Howard) with 19 rebounds but going a ridiculous 0-8 from the field for 1 point in 32 minutes. Noah also had trouble stopping Donatas Motiejunas. Pau Gasol had trouble stopping anyone.

Derrick Rose flashed a good mid-range game, and looked to have some nice lift after the extra time off. But though he was credited for only 3 turnovers he had poor handles (and stumbled a lot) and couldn't get anything going inside. He also shot 2-9 from three, and the Bulls outside of Butler were a combined 5-20 from distance. Hinrich and Mirotic were pretty terrible, and while Jeff Van Gundy didn't go all-in on the Bulls management like before, he did make a subtle dig at their supposed depth.