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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets lose to Bulls 104-91 Sunday night
POSTED: December 13, 2020 -- 11:50 p.m. CT
CHICAGO, IL (United Center) -- The Houston Rockets lost to the Chicago Bulls 104-91 Sunday night in the second game of the preseason for both teams. John Wall led the Rockets with a team-high 21 points in a team-high 24 points.
Wall wasn't happy with his 3 turnovers in the game.
"I had 1 more turnover than I wanted," Wall said after the game. "I'm trying to keep my turnovers to 2 or lower; but, I feel like I'm finding my way. For me to even playing at this level after 2 years or even doing good. A lot of people wrote me off and doubted me."
Rockets head coach Stephen Silas didn't like the 15 offensive rebounds the Bulls got in the game. The Bulls converted those o-boards into 28 second chance points.
"What killed us was the offensive rebounds," Silas lamented. "I mean we had multiple positions where guys were kinda just standing around; and, they (the Bulls) were crashing the glass. That's where the game was lost."
Wall echoed the rebounding problems.
"We gave up too many offensive rebounds and had 18 turnovers. That's 12 more turnovers that we had the first game."
The Rockets committed just six turnovers in Friday's 125-104 win over the Bulls.
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Houston led the Bulls 31-30 after the first quarter. Wall scored 11 points in the quarter on 4 for 9 field goal shooting including 2 for 5 from three-point range. The 2 threes Wall made were pull-up threes in transition.
Wall closed out the first half scoring with a three-point play which gave Houston a 56-53 halftime lead.
Ben McLemore started the second half for Eric Gordon. Coach Silas said the decision to rest Gordon in the second half was due to Gordon's tightening up; however, the move to rest him was precautionary and not serious.
"Eric was just a little tight; and we, didn't want to push it," Silas commented. "Nothing to worry about. I talked to him at halftime. He was good going back in; but, we just decided it doesn't make sense for him to go back in."
Gordon added, "No worries. No issues."
Newcomer David Nwaba did a little bit of everything for the Rockets in the game. In 16 minutes, Nwaba scored 11 points on 5 for 10 shooting and added 4 steals and 1 blocked shot.
"David Nwaba was really, really good," said Coach Silas. "Defensively, he was everywhere. He was on every coverage. He made the hustle plays. Got on the floor; and, then, offensively, he was a downhill player. He played in the paint which is what we need when we have shooting on the floor."
Houston led 79-73 after three quarters and 82-79 with 10:17 left in the fourth period. However, the Rockets went scoreless for more than 6 minutes; and, the Bulls went on a 17-0 run to pull away and cruise to the 13 point win.
"You have that first game; and, you're feeling good about where you're at and reality hits you," Coach Silas acknowledged. "You haven't been together for very long and it's going to take us a minute to exactly get to where we want as far as playing random and our set plays as well."
Silas added, "You have to go through a little adversity and get better. We did that tonight. We had some situations that we didn't necessarily like; and, the players were talking about it and figuring it out. We know that we need to be better."
Game 3 of the Rockets' 4-game preseason is set for Tuesday, December 15, versus the San Antonio Spurs in Houston, TX. Tuesday's game is the first of a two-game homestand against the Spurs. Tip time is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
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