Rapid Reaction: Bulls 111, Rockets 87

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
8:45
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls cruised to a 111-87 win over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Mike Dunleavy didn't score in the first half and had to leave the game to get stitches after taking a Chandler Parsons elbow to the head. He came back in the third quarter and scored 18 of his 21 points as the Bulls dominated in the final 24 minutes. Kirk Hinrich added 19 points, while Joakim Noah almost notched another triple-double, finishing with 13 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Jeremy Lin led the Rockets with 21 points.

What it means: Tom Thibodeau and his team were embarrassed with the way they played early in Tuesday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs and were determined to turn things around against the Rockets. While the Bulls' offense got rolling in the second half, the key for them is that their defense was on point throughout the night. They didn't allow Dwight Howard to get going early, and they limited what his teammates were able to do around him. They didn't allow Houston to get moving in transition -- and it made a big difference. Thibodeau has to be pleased with how his team responded against a high-quality Western Conference opponent.

Hits: Carlos Boozer had his best game in several weeks, finishing with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Misses: Aside from Howard's 5-for-7 effort from the field, the rest of the Rockets' starting five (Parsons, Terrence Jones, James Harden and Patrick Beverley) were a combined 7-for-34 from the field.

Stats of the night: The Bulls started the third quarter on a 16-0 run. They outscored the Rockets 35-16 in that frame. Chicago finished 14-for-24 from beyond the 3-point arc.

What's next: The Bulls host the Sacramento Kings on Saturday night.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5