January 9, 2018 / 3:50 AM / 5 months ago

Gordon, Paul carry Rockets past Bulls

The Houston Rockets may not have had James Harden on Monday, but they had a balanced scoring attack.

Houston’s approach was more than enough to earn a 116-107 victory at the United Center over the Chicago Bulls, who were without Nikola Mirotic.

Eric Gordon scored 13 of his 24 points in the first quarter to help the Rockets (28-11) take a big early lead and they coasted to their second win in four games without Harden in the lineup. Chris Paul also finished with 24 points in the victory.

Bobby Portis had 22 points off the bench to lead Chicago, which fell to 3-21 without Mirotic in the lineup.

Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring at 32.3 points per game, missed his fourth straight game with a grade 2 left hamstring injury. The shooting guard will be re-evaluated next week.

Mirotic, who has averaged 17.4 points and seven rebounds per game this season, missed Monday’s game with the flu. It was the first time Mirotic has sat out since missing the team’s first 23 contests after suffering a concussion and a facial fracture in a preseason scuffle with Portis. The Bulls (14-27) are 11-6 with Mirotic in the lineup.

Gordon made five of his first six shots, including three 3-pointers, as Houston grabbed a 35-22 lead after one quarter. He and Paul both finished with nine assists.

Former Slam Dunk champion Gerald Green finished with 22 points, his third 20-point effort in seven games since he signed with the Rockets last month.

Clint Capela had 15 points and 16 rebounds for Houston, which outrebounded Chicago 51-37. Trevor Ariza had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets.

Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn each scored 19 points for the Bulls. Valentine had eight rebounds.

Chicago first-round pick Lauri Markkanen finished with 16 points and eight rebounds in the losing effort.

—Field Level Media

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