99 - 93 Final
  for this game

Rockets hand Bulls 1st back-to-back losses

Apr 3, 2012 - 5:25 AM Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Goran Dragic scored 21 points and the Houston Rockets handed the Chicago Bulls their first consecutive losses of the season with a 99-93 win at United Center on Monday.

Luis Scola added 18 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Rockets, who have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games. Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger both contributed 13 points for Houston while Marcus Camby had 12 points and 11 boards in the victory.

"The best thing is that we control our destiny so we just have to keep taking one game at a time and keep competing like we did tonight," Rockets forward Chandler Parsons said about his team, which sits a game ahead of Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Luol Deng scored a game-high 24 points for Chicago, which had not lost back- to-back games in the regular season since Feb. 5-7, 2011, a span of 86 games.

Richard Hamilton returned from a 14-game absence because of a shoulder injury and had six points, three assists and five turnovers for the Bulls.

"It was kind of like a stinger," Hamilton said about his injury. "But I was able to fight through it and still be able to play."

Houston entered the second half trailing, 51-40, after being held to just 22.7 percent shooting in the second quarter, but found its offense in the third, connecting on 62.5 percent of its shots in the frame.

The Bulls' lead reached as much as 13 twice in the third before the Rockets stormed back, answering Carlos Boozer's layup with less than eight minutes left in the quarter with a 14-1 run to tie the game at 62.

Consecutive jumpers by Deng put the Bulls back on top before Houston closed out the third with a 9-4 push to carry a 71-70 edge into the fourth quarter on Earl Boykins' field goal in the final seconds of the frame.

The Rockets would never trail again, opening the final stanza with a 17-5 run that included three treys by Budinger and was capped by a Boykins triple to go ahead, 89-75.

Chicago threatened late in the game when six straight points cut the deficit to four, 92-88, with a little over a minute left in the game, but Lee put an end to the spurt with a fadeaway jumper and Houston connected on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

The Rockets used an early 16-7 run that included six points apiece by Scola and Camby to jump out to an 18-10 lead past the midpoint of the first quarter, but Chicago responded with a 12-6 push to close the gap to two before Dragic's jumper gave Houston a 26-22 advantage heading into the second quarter.

After a Boykins jumper gave the Rockets a 30-28 edge past the two-minute mark of the second, Houston would not record another field goal over the next eight-plus minutes as Chicago reeled off a 21-4 spurt to run out to a 49-34 lead.

Dragic put an end to the offensive drought with a personal 6-0 swing to cut the Rockets' deficit to single digits before a pair of Deng free throws put the Bulls on top, 51-40, at the break.

Game Notes

Bulls guard Derrick Rose missed his 11th straight game because of a groin injury. Chicago fell to 7-4 over that span and 14-7 for the year without the reigning MVP in the lineup...Houston improved to 9-17 on the road this season, while Chicago fell to 21-6 at home...Boozer finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who committed 19 turnovers in the game that resulted in 25 points for Houston.