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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 120-100 to the Bulls for 8th straight loss

POSTED: February 23, 2021 -- 9:00 a.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets lost 120-100 Monday night to the Chicago Bulls. The loss extends the Rockets' losing streak to 8 games.

The game was lost early in the first quarter and in the third quarter.

"It's a pride thing. It's a togetherness thing," Stephen Silas, Rockets Head Coach said after the game. "Not even like an attention to details thing or scheme thing or whatever. It's like a mindset thing; and, at some point, the mindset needs to change because the way we're starting games. I mean 22-7 to start the game. You gotta fight so hard to come back, right.

"Then, the third quarter we give up 46 points. Yeah. We just gotta do better."

The Bulls (14-16) raced to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter; but, to their credit (I guess), the Rockets (11-18) mounted a comeback and trailed by just 5 (29-24) at the end of the first quarter. John Wall led the Rockets with 11 points in the first quarter.

Houston's comeback continued into the second quarter. In fact, the Rockets took a 32-31 lead on a basket by David Nwaba at the 8:54 mark. Eric Gordon followed with his only three-point basket (10 attempts) of the game for a 35-31 Houston lead.

The Bulls answered with a 17-5 run to lead 48-40 with 2:08 remaining until halftime. Houston trailed 54-48 at the half.

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Then, the third quarter happened. My goodness. Did it ever happen.

The Bulls exploded for FORTY-SIX points in the third quarter to set a franchise record for most points scored in a quarter. Think about that for a moment.

Chicago's Zach LaVine scored 14 points of his 21 points in the third quarter on perfect shooting: 5 for 5 field goals (3 for 3 threes) and 1 for 1 from the foul line. The Bulls outscored the Rockets 46-26 in the third period. The Bulls largest lead in the quarter was 98-67.

Houston trailed by 26 (100-74) at the end of the third.

The Rockets trailed by as much as 31 in the fourth quarter and never got closer than 19.

The Rockets lost despite having just 9 turnovers after recording 18 turnovers in each of the previous two games.

Big man Justin Patton (6'11", 241) made his Rockets debut tonight and had 4 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in 21 minutes of play.

David Nwaba led the Rockets with a career-high tying 22 points. He also added 9 rebounds. Over the past three games, Nwaba is averaging 16.0 points and 10.0 rebounds while shooting 57.6% from the floor.

Sterling Brown had 16 points while shooting 4-of-4 from 3-point range.

"Those guys just played hard, like they always do," Coach Stephen Silas said of Nwaba and Brown after the game. "Regardless of what happens throughout the season, Sterling especially, are on it. Playing hard. Taking what the defense gives them. Not letting adversity get to them and that sort of thing.

"I was proud of those guys; but, it was definitely a stark difference between those guys and the starting group."


Dating back to last season, Houston is only 14-15 when having 12 or fewer turnovers.

Houston had a season-high 20 fast break points tonight. The Rockets were 12-3 when having 20+ fast break points in 2019-20.

The Bulls outshot the Rockets 53.8% to 38.5% tonight. Houston is 11-4 when outshooting its opponent this season but 0-14 when failing to do so.


The Rockets' next game is on the road Wednesday, February 24, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tip is set for 6:30 p.m. Central Time.

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