Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Chicago Bulls in their embarrassing loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday night, which snapped Chicago's three-game winning streak.
The Bulls gave up 64 points at the half, were outscored in every quarter but the second, and allowed Houston to own them in the paint. Chicago played from behind early, down by 18 in the first quarter. Despite taking the lead at the half after a buzzer-beater three-ball by Zach LaVine, the Bulls found themselves playing from behind again and ultimately losing to Houston, 133-118.
After the game, Bulls' head coach Billy Donavan told reporters their lack of defense put them in a bad position against Houston.
"I think it started there with our defense," Donavan said. "I think I said before the game, with how we're trying to play, we're making progress. I think we're making nice progress with how we're playing offensively. But we can't be a one-end team, and it certainly started that way defensively."
Donavan noted his team eventually did the right things on the offensive side of the basketball. Chicago had six players in double-figures, and two were only a point or two away from being double-figures. DeMar DeRozan led the group with 31 points and nine assists, shooting 11-18 from the field. Amid the loss, DeRozan made history against Houston. He passed George "Ice Man" Gervin for 44th place on the all-time scoring list with 20,711 points.
Chicago also had excellent ball movement, with a total of 27 assists, and had more fast-break points and points off of turnovers than Houston.
Nevertheless, Chicago's problems begin with allowing Houston to lead by 19 early on. In the third quarter, the Rockets went on a 17-1 run, reclaiming the lead. Houston went on to outscore the Bulls in the final 24 minutes of the game.
Zach LaVine openly admitted they played down to their competition. He said to reporters after the game, they took Houston for granted.
The Bulls had no answer for the Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr., who dropped 36 points, a season-high, shooting 14-22 from the field and 6-12 from behind the arc.
After the game, Houston's head coach Stephen Silas told reporters his team wanted to turn things around after going on a five-game losing streak.
"We have a competitive group, probably tired of losing, disappointed with how we finished the homestand, and we have a group of good guys who did the right things," said Silas.
Chicago falls to 14-19 on the season and 7-8 at home. The Bulls will rest Tuesday and put this loss behind them, so they can prepare for a few divisional games that lie ahead, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Photos of the Game
Milwaukee is second in the Eastern Conference but dropped their last three games. The Bulls and Bucks will face off at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday on NBC Sports Chicago.