March 28, 2018 / 2:40 AM / 5 months ago

Even without Harden, Rockets blast Bulls by 32

Eric Gordon scored 31 points and his backcourt mate Chris Paul added a double-double as the Houston Rockets rolled to a 118-86 road victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday at Toyota Center.

Playing without All-Star guard James Harden and center Clint Capela, both of whom got the night off to rest, the Rockets nonetheless found little resistance en route to their 10th consecutive victory. This marks the Rockets’ third double-digit winning streak on the season, and Houston has won 27 of its last 28 games.

The Rockets swept the season series from the lottery-bound Bulls and have won four consecutive games against Chicago for the first time in nearly five years. Houston extended its home-court winning streak to 18 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in team history.

Paul chipped in 13 points and 10 assists in his first action after missing three games with a hamstring injury. Paul, Gordon and Trevor Ariza drilled two 3-pointers each in the first quarter to get the Rockets going, with Houston trailing briefly 2-0 before taking charge early, leading 31-23 after one quarter.

Houston turned the modest lead into a runaway down the stretch of the first half, reeling off an 11-0 run that concluded with the first of four consecutive Gordon 3s. The Rockets led 51-32 before Justin Holiday ended that run with a trey, only for Gordon to convert thrice more from behind the arc, including a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds left for a 60-39 halftime lead.

By the 5:07 mark of the third Houston led 83-43, with reserve center Nene providing Houston that 40-point margin with a spinning post move. Nene opened the half with a dunk before Ariza (21 points) and Paul followed with 3s. Ariza added a three-point play prior to the Nene layup.

The Rockets attempted more 3-pointers than 2s (36), shooting 18 for 57 from deep.

Rookie Lauri Markkanen paced the Bulls with 22 points, 14 of which came in the first quarter. Denzel Valentine and Sean Kilpatrick each had 12 points off the bench for Chicago, which has lost six consecutive games.

—Field Level Media

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