for this game

Rose, Bulls hold off Artest, Rockets in final minute

Mar 1, 2009 - 5:24 AM CHICAGO (Ticker) -- For Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, things turned around quickly in the fourth quarter.

Rose rolled in the go-ahead shot with 32 seconds left as the Chicago Bulls handed the Houston Rockets their first loss since Tracy McGrady went down, 105-102, on Saturday.

Rose had 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Bulls, who outscored the Rockets, 34-14, in the fourth.

"The fourth quarter he really got it going," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said. "He got that little floater of his going and he pulled us out of it. He has been fantastic all year."

"The fourth quarter we didn't score, and we did not stop them," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "We got very non-aggressive. I think they scored on eight or nine straight possessions, so you have to look at both ends of the floor."

Tyrus Thomas had 19 points and nine rebounds, Joakim Noah added 10 and 15 and Gordon scored 16 points for Chicago, which saw forwards Luol Deng (right leg) and Tim Thomas (left knee) suffer injuries. Deng finished with six points while Thomas scored 19.

Deng aggravated a previous injury and may be out for an extended period.

"I have been wearing a pad for three to four weeks, because I thought it was a bruise or a sprain," he said. "Tonight, I had a play in the first half where I jumped up and felt (pain), so I went down to X-ray. The X-ray showed it might be a stress fracture.

"Worst-case scenario is a season-ending injury, but we will see how bad it is. I am not in pain, but I feel it on my toes or jumping."

The Bulls also were aided by some late-game folly from the Houston's Ron Artest.

After Rose's tough shot in the lane, Artest missed two potential game-winning 3-pointers on Houston's second-to-last possession. Chicago's John Salmons then made one free throw, allowing Artest a chance to make amends on his team's last gasp.

After an inbounds pass from the midcourt was deflected into the backcourt, Artest retrieved the ball with nine seconds left and seemed determined to get a shot off.

Artest, with three defenders around him and teammates begging for the ball, drove to the left wing and had his 3-pointer amid three defenders blocked. Of course, the mercurial forward thought he was fouled and nearly launched into a tirade on the court after the game.

"They fouled me at the end, but that is not why we lost," Artest said. "But it was a bad non-call, everybody makes mistakes, but it was a big mistake."

Teammate Dikembe Mutombo intervened as a mediator, holding Artest back from going at it with the referees. Mutombo and an assistant coach wrapped their arms around Artest and escorted him off the floor.

Though he played a solid game, Artest wanted the loss on his shoulders.

"I'll take the blame for the loss tonight, there was more I could have (done) to help us out there," he said. "We couldn't sustain the lead we had, we have made progress, we just had a bad fourth quarter."

Artest scored 32 points for Houston, which was 6-0 since McGrady was sidelined. The star forward had season-ending microfracture knee surgery Tuesday.

Houston outscored Chicago, 30-16, in the third to take an 88-71 lead after three quarters.

The Bulls started the fourth on a 9-3 run, quickly forcing the Rockets to call timeout. An 13-0 run later in the period pulled Chicago within 99-95 with 2:39 left and was capped by Gordon's two free throws.

After Artest banged home a three, the Bulls reeled off seven straight points, again capped by Gordon, who nailed an 18-foot jumper to tie the game at 102-102 and set the stage for Rose.

"It was nice that in the end we were able to impose our will on them," Gordon said. "We definitely needed that win. We caught them by surprise in the last quarter."

Yao Ming had 17 points and seven rebounds and Luis Scola added 16 and 12 for the Rockets, who were outrebounded, 51-40.