By MARK GONZALES | Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Kevin Porter Jr. scored a season-high 36 points and the Houston Rockets used a 17-1 run in the third quarter to beat the Chicago Bulls 133-118 on Monday night, snapping a five-game losing streak.
Alperan Sengun added 25 points and Jalen Green had 24 for Houston, which scored the first 10 points of the game but blew an 18-point lead before its third-quarter spurt.
“This was definitely one of those games where you saw the result of us learning and getting better,” Porter said.
DeMar DeRozan scored 31 for the Bulls, who won their previous three games. DeRozan passed George Gervin for 44th place on the career scoring list with 20,727 points.
After taking their first lead on a 3-pointer by Zach LaVine with 30 seconds left in the second quarter, the Bulls surged to a 74-67 advantage early in the third before the Rockets regrouped.
Chicago cut the deficit to 109-100 early in the fourth, but Porter countered with two consecutive 3-pointers. The Rockets made 50 of 90 shots, scored 60 points in the paint and outrebounded the Bulls 56-43.
“We have a competitive group, probably tired of losing, disappointed with how we finished the homestand, and we have a group of good guys who did the right things,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said.
It marked the first time in five games that DeRozan, LaVine and Nikola Vucevic failed to score at least 20 points apiece. LaVine finished with 22 points and Vucevic had 10.
“We didn't do a good job defensively," LaVine said. “One guy (Porter) got confidence, and the rest of their team got confidence.”
LaVine, who missed his first five shots and was assessed a technical foul with 2:18 left in the first quarter, helped spark a late second-quarter rally.
Coby White stole a pass, and his behind-the-back dribble near the sideline at midcourt enabled him to spot LaVine for a dunk that closed the deficit to 61-59. Following a turnover, LaVine sank a 3 to put the Bulls in front.
Green countered with a 3-pointer, but Goran Dragic drained a 3 at the buzzer to cap a 39-point second quarter and give the Bulls a 65-64 edge at halftime.
The Rockets scored the first 10 points, and Sengun sparked Houston to a 23-5 lead thanks to his 4-for-4 shooting and 11 points less than five minutes into the game. They scored 22 of their 36 first-quarter points in the paint.
Houston guard Eric Gordon returned after missing five games because of a bruised left thumb and scored 12 points.
Sengun grabbed 11 rebounds, marking his 10th double-double of the season. He scored 20 points or more for the sixth time.
Bulls: G Alex Caruso (concussion) missed his third consecutive game despite passing all protocols. The problem, according to coach Billy Donovan, is Caruso's right shoulder sprain that has prevented him from performing contact drills on the court. ... G Javonte Green (right knee soreness) missed his fifth consecutive game after going through pregame work. ... F Derrick Jones Jr. (left ankle sprain) missed his third straight game.
Rockets: At Boston on Tuesday.
Bulls: Host Milwaukee on Wednesday.
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