DeRozan, Bulls beat Rockets 133-118; win 2nd straight

Bulls
Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (11) goes up to shoot against Houston Rockets forward David Nwaba (2) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

CHICAGO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points and the Chicago Bulls beat the Houston Rockets 133-118 on Monday night.

DeRozan, who scored 38 points in Sunday’s win over the Lakers after missing three games due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, received help from five teammates who scored in double figures.

The Bulls never trailed and led by 25 points during the first half. They have won two consecutive games and six of their last eight.

Christian Wood had 23 points and 11 rebounds, but the Rockets lost for the fifth time in seven games. Jae’Sean Tate added 16 points.

Bulls guard Alex Caruso sprained his left foot with 5:56 remaining in the first quarter, went to the locker room and didn’t return.

Bulls coach Billy Donovan, mindful of the minutes logged by several starters in Sunday’s win over the Lakers following a seven-day layoff caused by the NBA’s coronavirus protocols, inserted Alfonzo McKinnie after Caruso departed. He sank two consecutive 3-pointers.

The reserves accounted for 32 of the Bulls’ 73 first-half points and finished with 64, with McKinnie’s third 3-pointer giving the Bulls their biggest lead of the half at 61-36.

Coby White, in his second game since returning from protocols, came off the bench to score 24 points. McKinnie finished with 16.

Bulls point guard Lonzo Ball had 19 points and eight assists.

The Rockets fell behind 9-0 and didn’t score until Wood’s tip-in with 8:32 left.

Josh Christopher’s two free throws cut the Rockets’ deficit to 30-26, but the Bulls embarked on a 15-2 run, punctuated by a basket by Ball that prompted a Rockets timeout.

The Rockets lost for the fourth time in 13 games when scoring at least 110 points. They fell to 3-14 on the road.

Bulls center Nikola Vucevic, who entered Monday’s game shooting 32% from the field (24 for 75) in his last four games, scored 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting.

TIP-INS

Rockets: G Jalen Green (left hamstring strain) could return within the next three games, coach Paul Silas Jr. said. G Kevin Porter Jr. (left thigh bruise) likely won’t return until after the holidays.

Bulls: McKinnie was signed to a second 10-day contract before the game. … G Derrick Jones Jr. (left hamstring strain) was ruled out and will be re-evaluated after Christmas with the expectation he wouldn’t be sidelined for an extended period, Donovan said.

UP NEXT

Rockets: Visit Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Bulls: Visit Toronto on Wednesday.

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