CHICAGO (AP) — Eric Gordon and Chris Paul each had 24 points and nine assists, Gerald Green scored 22 and the Houston Rockets beat the Chicago Bulls, 116-107, on Monday night.
Trevor Ariza hit six 3-pointers and scored 18 to go with nine rebounds. Clint Capela added 15 points and 16 rebounds, and the Rockets won for the third time in 10 games despite blowing a 21-point lead.
Bobby Portis led the Bulls with 22 points. Denzel Valentine and Kris Dunn each scored 19, but Chicago lost for the fifth time in six games.
With NBA scoring leader James Harden missing his fourth consecutive game because of a strained hamstring, the Rockets regained control after falling behind early in the third.
They scored eight straight to stretch a two-point edge to 10 late in the quarter and took an 87-76 lead into the fourth after Green and Paul nailed back-to-back 3s. Houston was in charge the rest of the game.
Houston nearly put this one away early, going up by 21 late in the first quarter after Paul’s four-point play. But the Bulls got more physical in the second and cut it to 60-55 at halftime.
The Bulls tied it on a 3 by Valentine to start the third and two free throws by Robin Lopez. Dunn gave Chicago its first lead since the early going, 64-62, just under three minutes into the quarter.
The Bulls had no update after forward Zach LaVine and his representatives met Monday with management, coaches and medical staff to set a date for his Chicago debut. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson figures to give one when he meets with the media on Tuesday.
Acquired along with Dunn and Lauri Markkanen in the draft-night trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, Lavine appears ready to play for the first time since he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last February. The two-time slam dunk champion averaged 18.9 points in 47 games for the Timberwolves last season.
Rockets: Houston had dropped four of five road games.
Bulls: F Nikola Mirotic missed the game because of a stomach virus that’s been bothering him the past few days. Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said Mirotic “felt much better” prior to playing 23 minutes at Indiana on Saturday but took a bad turn after that game. He saw a doctor on Monday. … Hoiberg said G Cameron Payne, recovering from a broken right foot, is cleared to do “pretty much everything except jumping.” Payne had surgery in September and has not played this season.
Rockets: Host the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday.
Bulls: Visit the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
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