NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 2nd
(All times eastern)
Houston Rockets (28-25) at Chicago Bulls (42-12), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - After getting blown out in Oklahoma City, the Eastern
Conference-leading Chicago Bulls look to get back on track tonight at home
versus the playoff-hopeful Houston Rockets.
The Bulls were dealt a lopsided 92-78 loss to the Thunder Sunday afternoon and
saw Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combine for 51 points in the win. Bulls
guard Derrick Rose missed his 10th straight game (7-3) because of a groin
issue and is not expected to return any time soon. Chicago was led by John
Lucas III, who scored 19 points off the bench. Kyle Korver had 14 points and
Carlos Boozer ended with eight and 10 rebounds.
"We were playing from behind from the start," Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau
said. "They beat us in every facet of the game."
Chicago shot just 33 percent for the game and fell to 14-6 this season without
Rose in the lineup. Chicago is 3 1/2 games ahead of Miami for the East's top
seed and still holds the best record in the NBA at 42-12.
The Bulls lost for only the fourth time in their last 21 games and will play
two straight and four of five games at home. The Central Division leaders own
an impressive 21-5 mark as the host and haven't suffered back-to-back defeats
this season. Chicago has not lost consecutive games in the regular season
since Feb. 5-7, 2011, a span of 86 games.
Guard Richard Hamilton (shoulder) missed his 14th straight contest and is
questionable versus the Rockets. He is posting 11.3 ppg this season.
Houston will kick off a four-game road trip tonight against the Bulls, Lakers,
Kings and Trail Blazers, and is 8-17 outside Space City in 2011-12.
The Rockets have alternated wins and losses over the past six games and is
coming off Sunday's hard-fought 104-102 overtime loss to Indiana. Goran
Dragic, filling in for an ill Kyle Lowry, had a team-high 22 points and
Courtney Lee added 20 points in defeat.
"We had our chances," Dragic said after the Rockets squandered a 10-point
advantage entering the fourth quarter. "They were stronger than we were. It
was a really tough loss."
Chandler Parsons had 14 points, Luis Scola scored 13 and Marcus Camby finished
with 10 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for Houston, which is one game
ahead of Utah for the final postseason berth in the West and one game behind
Denver for the seventh spot. Rockets guard Kevin Martin has been out 11
straight games with a sprained right shoulder. Martin will most likely miss
Monday's game and still leads the team with 17.1 ppg.
Houston will try to put the brakes on a three-game road losing streak tonight,
but has lost 10 of the past 17 trips to the Windy City. Chicago has prevailed
in five straight matchups with the Rockets after losing the previous six
04/02 10:43:39 ET
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