Rapid Reaction: Rockets 99, Bulls 93


CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Houston Rockets upended the Chicago Bulls 99-93 on Monday night at the United Center.

How it happened: For the second straight game, the Bulls fell flat during big stretches of the second half and they dug themselves too big of a hole to get out of. Goran Dragic led the Rockets with 21 points, Luis Scola added 18 points and 12 rebounds and Marcus Camby had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Luol Deng led the Bulls with 24 points but there were too many lapses on defense in the second half for the Bulls to cover up.

What it means: The Bulls don't look like themselves. They look understandably exhausted because of the compressed schedule, but the problems are deeper than that right now. They look flat and aren't playing with the “edge” that players always talk about. They look like a team that just wants the playoffs to start. The problem is that the playoffs are still three weeks away and the Bulls would still like to lock up the No. 1 seed. While the defense is having problems, the starting backcourt, without Derrick Rose, is a concern. Rip Hamilton (who played in his first game in almost a month) and C.J. Watson combined to go 3-for-14 from the field. That isn't going to cut it down the stretch, especially if Rose doesn't come back for another week.

Stats of the night: For first time in almost 14 months, the Bulls lost two regular-season games in a row.

Bold play of the game: With his team hanging onto a four-point lead, Rockets guard Courtney Lee drained a crucial jumper and ended any thoughts of a Bulls' comeback.

What's next: The Bulls have a day off Tuesday before hitting the practice floor on Wednesday afternoon. Their next game is Thursday night against the Boston Celtics.