CHICAGO (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 33 points, and the Chicago Bulls overcame a strong effort by Victor Oladipo in his Houston debut, beating the Rockets 125-120 on Monday night.
LaVine led seven Bulls players in double figures and added seven assists. He scored nine points in the closing minutes of the third to help send Chicago to the final quarter with a 93-86 lead.
The Bulls made enough shots down the stretch to win for the second time in as many days after losing four straight by four points or fewer.
“It’s gonna take some time. But I see them fighting to get better,” coach Billy Donovan said.
Lauri Markkanen finished with 18 points. The 7-footer from Finland nailed a 3-pointer in the closing minute to make it a six-point game, helping Chicago squeeze out a tight win after an easy victory at Dallas. And the Bulls hit 20 of 45 from beyond the arc.
Oladipo looked good in his first game for Houston, setting season highs with 32 points and nine assists. The two-time All-Star was acquired from Indiana as part of the four-team trade that sent James Harden to Brooklyn last week after he said the Rockets weren’t “good enough.”
Christian Wood scored 30 and grabbed nine rebounds. Eric Gordon added 21 points after missing back-to-back games because of tightness in his lower left leg. The Rockets lost for the fourth time in five games.
“Our better days are ahead of us, definitely,” Oladipo said. “Off the fly, we kind of just went out there and winged it a little bit. Not very much time to prep. Our better days are ahead. Everyone, just stay patient, including us.”