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Recap: Game 12 - Rockets vs. Bulls (L 120-125)

The new look Rockets are back at it again, this time with Victor Oladipo in a Rockets uniform for the first time, and he did not disappoint. He finished the game with 32 points and looked every bit as good as he did before his injury. His 32 points are the 2nd most points scored by a Rocket in their first game for the Rockets, James Harden sits at the top. In the 2nd half Oladipo and Christian Wood started to connect, there's some hope for that turning into something special as the season progresses. The Rockets played well for 3 quarters of the game, but never got out of the 12 point hole they put themselves in in the 1st. That was partly due to the Bulls making 20 three's this game, only the second time they've done that this season. And partly because the game was a game of runs. Twice the Rockets were down 17 and three times did the Rockets pull to within 3. Again, it wasn't enough. The Bulls' Zach LaVine led all scorers with 33 points.

1st quarter - Rockets -12

Both teams started the quarter slow and sloppy, 5 minutes into the game the score was 7-6 Chicago. For the Bulls, the play eventually turned around, they finished the quarter on a 21-10 run. Zach Levine was quiet but played well, and Wendell Carter Jr. was able to score on Christian Wood inside. The Rockets, well, they didn't turn it around. The Rockets finished the quarter with 9 turnovers and went 2-11 from deep. Wood was absent offensively. What I remember from him this quarter were multiple missed three's and 2 offensive fouls.

This was the first quarter with Victor Oladipo in a Rockets uniform. About half-way through the quarter he made a quick move and took his guy off the dribble to score. I really hope that's the Oladipo we're going to get. He turned the ball over a bit this quarter, but I'm going to chalk that up to him playing with a new team.

Wood was replaced by Demarcus Cousins after his second offensive foul. Cousins promptly missed 2 open threes.

2nd quarter - Rockets +0

The Rockets didn't lose any ground in this quarter, but they also didn't gain any. Both teams picked up their play. The Rockets started the quarter on a 9-0 run with 2 three's from Gordon and a three from Jae'Sean Tate. The next few possessions saw the Rockets trade two-pointers for three-pointers, the Bulls started the quarter going 6 for 6 from deep. Oladipo started to find his groove, he scored 12 points in the quarter to bring his first-half points to 15. In particular, he had a few great passes to Wood down low. Speaking of Wood, he made some plays this quarter. He was on the receiving end of a few dimes from Oladipo and hit a big 3 late in the quarter to pull the Rockets to within 9. The 2nd quarter for the Bulls was one of runs. A run in the middle of the quarter put them up as much as 17. And a run at the very end of the quarter stopped any Rockets' momentum.

Jae'Sean Tate is so fun to watch. He hit a 3 to start the quarter and followed that up by stuffing the bigger Wendell Carter Jr. I'm going to do a deep-dive on him soon.

3rd quarter - Rockets +5

The Rockets started the quarter hot. A 16-4 run-hot to bring the Bulls lead down to 3. The run was led by Oladipo, who has 24 points after 3 quarters. But, as quickly as the Rockets got momentum, the Bulls yet again snatched it away. The Bulls quickly got the lead back up to 10, led by LaVine, who has 27 points through 3 quarters. LaVine had a few minute span that resulted in an 8 point swing.

Wood came alive in this quarter, he had a few really nice off-the-dribble moves that lead to buckets. But I'd like to see more from him in the 4th, on both sides of the court. The Bulls have out-rebounded the Rockets so far, and have grabbed 7 offensive rebounds. Wood has to do a better job securing the paint.

4th quarter - Rockets +2

Yet another quarter that the Rockets won but it wasn't enough to overcome the 12-point deficit they put themselves in after the 1st quarter. The first 6 minutes of the quarter the Rockets played the second unit, and they played well for 5 of those minutes. Unfortunately, after a few really bad offensive possessions by the Rockets, and mostly by Boogie, the Bulls lead again grew to 12. With the starters back in, the Rockets got the lead down to only 3 (it was the 3rd time this game the Rockets got the Bulls' lead down to 3) but another run by the Bulls yet again stopped all momentum. It just wasn't enough.

My takeaway from this quarter is that Oladipo and Wood look really good playing together. There's still some miscommunication, which is to be expected since it's Oladipo's first game, but there were a couple of nice drives and dishes for the pair. Hopefully this is only the start.

Notes

  • John Wall did not play this game due to injury
  • Zach LaVine tied his season average of 27 points after only 3 quarters
  • Victor Oladipo is the Frost Player of the Game
  • The Bulls hit 20 threes this game, the second time they've done that this season after only doing that four times all of last season
  • The Bulls out rebounded the Rockets 47 to 36, and grabbed 8 more offensive rebounds
  • Boogie Cousins went 0-7 this game which included going 0-5 from three
Position Rockets Bulls
PG Eric Gordon Coby White
SG Victor Oladipo Zach LaVine
SF David Nwaba Garrett Temple
PF PJ Tucker Lauri Markkanen
C Christian Wood Wendell Carter Jr.