When the fourth quarter began, the Chicago Bulls were trailing the Houston Rockets, 71-63, and Derrick Rose had 16 points.  That did not last long as the Bulls’ phenom point guard splashed in a 27-foot jump shot in the opening possession of the period.  He seemed as though he had a chip on his shoulder, after falling on the short end of a few disputed foul calls prior to that point in the game.  Derrick then proceeded to play like a man possessed – lighting up the Toyota Center. 

Rose ended with 33 points, seven assists, and three steals in the Bulls’ 95-92 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.  He hit his first four three-point attempts – ending the night 4-of-5 from beyond the arch.  He carried the Bulls’ down-the-stretch by sparking an 18-0 Chicago run (scoring 14 of those points). 

The Rockets’ first points of the fourth quarter did not come until the 6:46 mark.  They attempted to make a push in the final minutes, but their hopes were snuffed out by Chicago’s clutch free throw shooting and a steal by Rose to seal the fourth consecutive victory for the Bulls – who now stand 6-3 atop of the Central Division.

Luis Scola provided a spark for the Rockets, and finished with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting.  But the Rockets’ reserves were crushed by the Bulls in the second and fourth periods.  Courtney Lee and Ishmael Smith combined for 6 turnovers in a mere 19 minutes played between the two players.  C-Lee could not even seem to remember to foul Derrick Rose during the Rockets’ attempts to salvage their hopes in the final seconds.

Chicago rebounded the ball efficiently – outperforming Houston under the glass by a 40-32 margin.  Luol Deng came up with five key offensive boards (leading all players with 10 total rebounds).  Ronnie Brewer looked extremely active for Chicago in the first half.  He was deflecting passes and scoring well under the basket.  If he continues to move this well without the ball, he should add a pivotal complementary piece on both ends of the floor.  He runs the baseline and finishes around the rim exceptionally well, which should come in-handy when Tom Thibodeau runs with several jump-shooters on the floor – like Kyle Korver, Taj Gibson, and soon-available Carlos Boozer.

Brewer made his first five field-goal attempts and had three steals in the Bulls’ victory.  Kyle Korver also performed well despite the bone bruise on his knee which threatened to keep him out of the game on Tuesday night.  Korver added ten points, six rebounds, four assists, and three steals for the Bulls.

Chicago’s next game will be soon – Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs.  It will be a test for the Bulls, who will be trying to win on a back-to-back night against a Spurs team that have won their last seven games.  Though, the Bulls have had good luck over the last two seasons.  Surprisingly, the last time the Bulls lost a game in San Antonio was November 26, 2008.

Rami Abboud

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