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Houston thrashes Chicago 115-94 as the Bulls lose fourth straight game

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This was the worst loss of the season in a season full of bad losses

NBA: Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

After beating the Golden State Warriors last Thursday, things were sort of looking up for the Bulls. But all that hope has been quickly dashed with Chicago now on a four-game losing streak which most recently includes an embarrassing 115-94 loss at home to the Houston Rockets.

Against one of the top offensive teams in the league, Chicago did a good job keeping up with the Rockets on that end of the court in the early going. In fact, the Bulls had a fantastic first quarter, scoring 33 points and shooting an eFG% of 65.2. Dwyane Wade, who was making his return after a two-game absence, paced Chicago with 12 points and hit all five of his field goals. Jimmy Butler added 8 points as well.

James Harden had a relatively quiet quiet quarter and only scored 4 points with Butler guarding him. The Bulls started out with Butler on Harden, Jerian Grant guarding Patrick Beverley, and Wade having to guard Trevor Ariza at the three-spot. Joffrey Lauvergne provided a spark off the bench with Bobby Portis drawing two quick fouls. The Frenchman grabbed five rebounds as he is getting a bigger role each game.

The Bulls controlled the first quarter, extending their lead to as much as 13 and led 33-23 at the end of it. But Fred Hoiberg continued to perplex with his rotation. He chose to bring MCW as the first person off the bench after being a DNP-CD against Orlando. Hoiberg ended up playing 12 guys in the first half with Nikola Mirotic being the only one who didn’t play any minutes.

Houston had a much better second quarter (thanks in part to the Bulls’ silly lineups) and was able to storm back to take the lead with around six minutes left. But it wasn’t just from Harden, who began to catch fire as the half wore on. Harden himself scored 7 of the Rockets last 9 points in the half, showcasing himself once again as a MVP candidate. Lou Williams came off the bench and dropped 10 points for the Rockets and Clint Capela scored 7 as well. It was a combination of Houston beginning to hit their shots and the Bulls making very bad mental mistakes like fouling three-point shooters.

After scoring 33 in the first quarter, Chicago ended giving up 33 in the second quarter as the Rockets were able to turn it around and take the halftime lead at 56-49. It was Harden’s 13 to lead the Rockets while Wade carried the Bulls in the first half with 21 points. He was basically Chicago’s only source of offense as they shot 41.2% from the field overall and shot an abysmal 18.8% from three.

The second half was just disastrous for Chicago. Houston came out of the gates storming and blitzed Chicago offensively. It only took a few minutes for the Rockets lead to reach double digits and it quickly rose to 20. It was a balanced scoring attack for Houston with five scorers scoring double digits including Ryan Anderson, who kept knocking down threes to help put the game away early. The big man hit 6 three-pointers in the game to finish with a team high 21 points.

By the end of the third quarter, Houston ended up going on a 33-2 run to lead 92-63 and put the game out of reach. Chicago only scored 14 points in what was one of the worst quarters played by the Bulls this season. The United Center crowd let the team know their displeasure by booing them at the end of the 3rd. It was certainly warranted given the lack of effort given by Chicago tonight and the booing also brought an interesting chant that was certainly audible this time around.

With the game certainly out of hand, Hoiberg emptied his bench with everyone except for Nikola Mirotic. It was all garbage time minutes in the 4th quarter with the Bulls using this to try and give some of their young guys minutes, including Cameron Payne who scored 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting. The Rockets kept most of their starters out there until the last minutes of the game as they kept chucking threes. Houston ended up winning 115-94 in what was easily the worst loss of the season for the Bulls in a season full of bad ones.

With the losing streak, Chicago now sits on the outside looking in of the playoff bubble and could be in jeopardy of missing their second straight postseason. Time to hit the panic button if it hasn’t been done already.