I have to admit, I didn't really watch this game, only nervously checking in on the score and screaming 'NOOOOO' and realizing I had to watch the tape when seeing the game was close. And it turned out to be a win. What luck.
Let's start on why this is all dumb and bad. Derrick Rose started with his sore elbow he's been playing with for the past two games, though pregame said it may be a short night. And it was, as he did not start the second half. This is on the same night that Taj Gibson, who didn't play, admitted he knew about a fracture in his ribs and played anyway in Indiana. What the hell?
I get it, the players care about making the playoffs more than I do. It's just frustrating they're taking to the absolute mathematical elimination to put out this much risk 'for the biscuit'.
Anyway, Nikola Mirotic went 4-7 from three in the first half to help the Bulls stay even at 52-52 as the second period ended. They maintained the same 3-point defense
luck as the Rockets went 2-12 from beyond the arc.
The Rockets started the 3rd quarter hitting threes again as part of a 14-2 run, accumulating the lead to as much as 14. But the Rockets are kind of like Bulls-west, in that they're talented but have sunk to the depths of hell defensively and are only nominally battling for a playoff spot and are more than capable of blowing games too. And yup, they blew this lead.
Bulls coming back on Rockets with Justin Holiday and Cristiano Felicio, just as everybody predicted.— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 1, 2016
Anyway, with Michael Beasley (I know...) being the only good thing going for the Rockets, the Bulls eventually took the lead, and were able to extend it playing leader-ball and getting more big shots from Mirotic and E'Twaun Moore. Jimmy Butler got this open lane to dunk and picked up a technical.
Of course, Harden missed the free throw because they're all garbage too. It was all part of a 10-0 run that effectively put the game away.
There was a lot of those annoying late-game timeouts/subs/free-throws that saw the Rockets get closer, and even to a 1-posession game at the end. Ariza missed a wide open three that would've tied the game, but maybe the Rockets shouldn't have played like garbage for that whole final period. Like the Bulls shouldn't have ended their season on that 4-game winning streak and the team meeting that should not be talked about. I guess it's good that Nikola Mirotic has been shooting well (led the Bulls with 28), Jimmy Butler had his best game since playing obviously hurt himself, and, uh, Christiano Felicio looks like he stick on the end of an NBA bench? Then again, it's just the Rockets.
All this and the Pacers went and crapped the bed at home against the Magic, so now the Bulls are merely a game back and own the tiebreaker. What a dark day for NBA basketball and the Chicago Bulls.