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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 125-120

POSTED: January 18, 2021 -- 11:45 p.m. CT

CHICAGO, IL (United Center) -- A turnover-filled first quarter hurt the Rockets in a 125-120 road loss to the Chicago Bulls Monday night. Houston committed 9 turnovers in the first quarter. Nine.

New Houston Rockets guard, Victor Oladipo, got off to a slow start and had 4 of the 9 turnovers in the first period.

"The first quarter was kinda like trying to get used to stuff," Oladipo said after the game. "But, after that, after things settled in, it was just basketball."

Oladipo got more comfortable as the game progressed; and, he finished the game with a team-high 32 points and a team-high 9 assists.

Seven of Oladipo's 9 assists were to Christian Wood. Wood finished the game with 30 points and 9 rebounds. After 1 practice, 1 shootaround, and 1 game, the Oladipo-to-Wood tandem looks like a dynamic duo in the making.

"With me and him in pick-and-rolls," Wood said of he and Oladipo. "We'll be amazing."

Houston trailed the Bulls 28-16 at the end of the first quarter. The Bulls shot 50% (11 for 22) in the opening quarter.

The Bulls shot 50% in the second quarter on 12 of 24 field goal shooting -- including 7 for 13 (53.8%) on three-point shots.

Stephen Silas, Rockets Head Coach said, "The defense has to get better. It just does."

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Houston (4-8) scored 36 points in the second quarter, 34 points in the third, and 34 points in the fourth. However, Houston never led nor tied the Bulls after the first quarter. The Rockets trailed by as many as 17 points in the game. Houston got as close as 3 on two separate occasions.

After the game, Oladipo said during his media session, "Our better days are ahead. This is only the beginning."

Chicago (6-8) outrebounded Houston 47-36.

Christian Wood said, "I'm going to the blame today a little defensively. I gotta be better. I will be better. I'll try to rebound the ball better."

Wood continued, "I think my team's depending on me to do certain things; make certain plays; and, I have to step up and take responsibility of that."

"We're not trying to be a good team," Oladipo remarked. "We're trying to be a great team. We have the ability to do so. We have the personnel to do so; and, the coach. It's all about doing it; and, buying in to every day. Every possession.

"And, playing every game like it's our last. That's this team's mentality. We're going to go out there and play with that chip; that brick; that whatever it is on our back. Whatever is the biggest thing you can carry on our back and go out there and compete for one another. If we do that, I truly believe that we can be a very good team."


The Rockets return home to face the Phoenix Suns Wednesday, January 20. Tip time is approximately 8:30 p.m.

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