HOUSTON — Nikola Mirotic scored 28 points and Jimmy Butler added 21 to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 103-100 win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.
In a pivotal game for two teams fighting for the final playoff spots in their respective conferences, the Bulls were fueled by a strong fourth quarter in which they outscored the Rockets 32-20. Chicago entered the fourth facing a nine-point deficit but was able to overcome thanks to hot shooting from Mirotic.
Trevor Ariza attempted a tying 3 at the buzzer, but it rimmed out and Chicago held on.
The Bulls won their second consecutive game following a four-game skid and trail Indiana by one game for the final playoff spot in the East.
Houston dropped a half-game behind Utah and Dallas, who are tied for the seventh and eighth seeds in the West.
James Harden led Houston with 24 points and eight assists.