Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets: Live Score and Analysis

Matthew SchmidtFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2013

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The Houston Rockets continued their dominance at home on Wednesday night, topping the Chicago Bulls 109-94 at the Toyota Center.

Dwight Howard led the way with 23 points and nine rebounds, and James Harden contributed 19 points and six assists despite playing through a high ankle sprain.

For the Rockets, it was their 10th home win in 11 contests.

The loss for the Bulls marked their third straight defeat, and they have now gone a paltry 3-10 since Derrick Rose went down with a torn meniscus.

Houston, which led by as much as 19, shot 54 percent from the floor to Chicago's 48 percent.

Jimmy Butler led the Bulls with 20 points.

Let's break down the keys to this one.


Easy Buckets for Dwight Howard

Howard was simply dominant inside, having his way with the Chicago defenders and getting easy dunks all night.

Joakim Noah was simply not strong enough to keep Howard out of the paint, and Carlos Boozer is just not athletic enough to break up lob passes to Dwight.

Howard scored early and often, setting the tone with a few dunks in the first quarter and continuing to do so for the rest of the game.


Solid Ball Security for Houston

The Rockets came into this contest ranking 29th in the league in turnovers, averaging 17.7 per game. Well, they only coughed it up 13 times on Wednesday night, and although Harden was responsible for seven of the miscues, the good control of the rock allowed Houston to get into its offense against a good defensive ballclub.

On the flip side, the Rockets forced 17 turnovers.


Bulls Missed too Many Easy Shots Early

Chicago had a lot of good looks early on in the game, but it didn't fully capitalize. The Bulls missed numerous shots around the basket, and they misfired on a number of open looks from the perimeter.

You can't do that when you struggle to score as it is, especially against a high-powered Rockets ballclub that is almost guaranteed to drop 100+ points every night.

The Bulls ended up shooting a solid 48 percent as a team, but they went 6-for-21 in the first quarter and never completely recovered.


Chicago Was Dominated Inside

One thing the Bulls usually do is control the paint.

Well, they didn't do that against Houston, as the Rockets outscored the Bulls 66-40 in the painted area. Yikes.

Again, Chicago had a ton of trouble with Howard, and it also allowed far too much dribble penetration from the likes of Patrick Beverley.