Lauri Markkanen makes season debut, Rockets beat Bulls 121-105

HOUSTON — James Harden made six 3-pointers and scored 30 points to help the Houston Rockets to their second straight win, 121-105, over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

The victory comes a night after the Rockets snapped a season-high four game skid with a win 136-105 win at San Antonio.

Houston was up by 12 entering the fourth quarter and used a 13-7 run to start the period and make it 100-82 with 8½ minutes left. Eric Gordon made two 3-pointers in that stretch and P.J. Tucker added a three-point play. Chicago couldn’t cut into the lead after that and the Rockets were up by 20 with about three minutes left when coach Mike D’Antoni cleared the bench.

Zach LaVine had 29 points for the Bulls, who lost their sixth straight game and for the 10th time in 11 games.

Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen had 10 points and four rebounds in his season debut after missing the team’s first 23 games with a sprained right elbow he sustained in training camp. He entered the game with about 4½ minutes left in the first quarter and played 26 minutes.

Clint Capela added 18 points and 15 rebounds for Houston and Chris Paul had 12 points and tied a season high with 13 assists in his second game back after missing three with a sore hamstring.

Houston led by 10 at halftime before the Bulls used a 12-6 run to open the third quarter and cut the lead to four. Parker led Chicago in that stretch, scoring eight points.

The Rockets got back on track after that, scoring the next five points to push the lead to 67-58 with about seven minutes left in the third.

Houston led by eight later in the third when Harden made a 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired to make it 74-63 with 4½ minutes left in the quarter.

The Bulls added a layup seconds after that, but Houston scored the next six points, capped by a 3 from Harden with Jabari Parker in his face to make it 80-65 about 90 seconds later.

LaVine scored all of Chicago’s points in a 7-2 run later in the third to cut the deficit, but Gerald Green made a 3-pointer with a few seconds left in the quarter to put Houston up 87-75 entering the fourth.