HOUSTON – Even in a rebuilding season, one where victory takes a backseat to development, this one was painful to watch.
What makes it unusual is that Bulls fans knew it was coming. Even without the best player in the league in the lineup, the red-hot Rockets were going to be a miserable match-up for an extremely short-handed Bulls team, even with Lauri Markkanen back.
But what unfolded over 48 minutes was even more ugly than some might have imagined, as the Rockets made quick and easy work of the rebuilding Bulls. A 21-point halftime lead by Houston would balloon to as much as 40 befor the game finished with a 118-86 result.
The 32-point blowout was the biggest of the season for the Rockets, who’ve now won ten-straight games and improve to an NBA-best 61-14. Meanwhile the Bulls have lost their sixth-straight game and now have lost 50 games on the season as they allowed their opponent to reach the 100 point mark for the ninth-straight game.
With Harden, the likely NBA MVP, out on rest, the Rockets turned to Eric Gordon for their scoring punch as he led the way with 31 points with Trevor Ariza getting 21. Houston led by eight after the first quarter then 21 at the break before taking a 40 point lead midway through the third quarter on a layup by Nene to make it 83-43.
Markkanen, who missed six of the last seven games due to injury, led the Bulls with 22 points in 28 minutes of action. If you’re going to have a bright spot on the night, that’s it, since thinking about the future is one way to get through a miserable night in Houston.