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Bulls vs. Rockets final score: Chicago puts forth complete team effort in dominant 133-118 win

sweet revenge

NBA: Houston Rockets at Chicago Bulls Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Playing the second night of a back-to-back while shorthanded after an emotional win over the Lakers could have been the recipe for another letdown against the Rockets. Instead, the Bulls delivered one of their best efforts of the season, dominating all night long in a 133-118 victory to get some revenge after the ugly loss a month ago.

This was truly a terrific team effort. DeMar DeRozan led six Bulls in double figures with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, but the big story was the bench putting up a season-high 66 points. Coby White poured in a season-high 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting overall and 5-of-9 from 3-point range, playing with purpose and aggression all night on the offensive end. White wound up playing 31 minutes because of an early injury to Alex Caruso, who played only six minutes before leaving for the night with a foot sprain. Let’s hope that’s not too serious.

But the other Bulls picked up the slack. Alfonzo McKinnie was outstanding off the bench with 16 points on 6-of-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. McKinnie just signed another 10-day hardship contract, but he’s making a strong case to replace Matt Thomas as the permanent 15th man on this roster. McKinnie just brings way more to the table.

The two-way guys, Tyler Cook and Devon Dotson, also played well off the bench. Cook scored 11 points despite only taking three shots, going 7-of-8 from the foul line thanks to his aggressive play around the basket. Dotson had five points and four dimes in 14 minutes, even knocking down a 3-pointer.

I’ll also give Tony Bradley some props for his effort off the bench (plus-17), but he has to have some of the worst hands in the NBA. Bradley completely botched a beauty of a pass from DeRozan at the end of the third quarter ... luckily DDR got it back and just scored himself.

The best Bull of the night, though, was Lonzo Ball, who stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 19 points, eight assists, five rebounds, five steals and a block. He shot 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-9 from 3-point range. He had the best pass of the night for a Chicago athlete (the Bears suck):

Ball also single-handedly swung the momentum back in the Bulls’ favor in the third quarter when it looked like the Rockets might creep back in the game. The Bulls led by 25 points in the second quarter and at multiple points in the third quarter, but the Rockets started scoring at will (they actually wound up shooting over 56% for the game) and trimmed the margin to 15 with just under three minutes to play in the frame. Ball then hit a 3-pointer, got a steal and hit McKinnie with a sick lob pass:

Ball then got another steal and missed a 3-pointer, only for a McKinnie offensive rebound to result in a Lonzo and-1 to push the lead back out to 23. The fourth quarter was extended garbage time that even saw Bradley take and make an 18-foot jumper relatively early in the clock. It really was Chicago’s night.

The Bulls shot 53.4% overall, 16-of-35 from 3-point range and 23-of-24 from the charity stripe while scoring 24 points off turnovers. The Rockets aren’t exactly a defensive juggernaut, but that’s quite the showing with no Zach LaVine. They scored a season-high 73 points in the first half and matched a season high with 133 total points. Nikola Vucevic was the other Bull in double figures with 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and two monstrous blocks, though it did take him 18 shots to get those points.

This is how you take care of business against a lesser opponent. The Rockets have been playing much better since beating the Bulls the first time, but this was still a game the home team needed to grab. They did just that to get to 19-10 on the season, with one more game on Wednesday against the Raptors before Christmas.