Chicago Bulls vs. Houston Rockets Pick & Prediction JANUARY 10th 2024

The Houston Rockets’ road woes continued Monday as the team lost 120-113 at Miami in the opener of a six-game trip.

The Rockets fell to 3-11 away from home this season but they still are off to an improved start. A victory against the host Chicago Bulls on Wednesday would put Houston three wins shy of matching last season’s total of 22.

“For me, not surprised or happy,” Houston coach Ime Udoka said. “They bought in from Day 1, and once you see the competitive side, the mindset, you know you have the right guys there. We had five or six games that we could have flipped the other way.”

Monday’s game was tied at 59 at halftime, but the Rockets were unable to match the Heat’s depth down the stretch.

Big nights from Fred VanVleet and Alperen Sengun, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, kept Houston afloat.

VanVleet led all scorers with 32 points while connecting on 7 of 14 from long range. Sengun notched a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Miami’s 50 percent (41 of 82) shooting night, including 15-for-36 accuracy from deep, took a toll.

“I thought we let them feel too comfortable early on, and it was just hard to get it back after that,” VanVleet said. “So, on the road, you know, against a good team, you got to be a little bit better. Play harder, smarter, better, and we just didn’t do that tonight.”

Chicago completed a home-and-home sweep of the Charlotte Hornets with Monday’s 119-112 road victory in overtime.

Unable to maintain a seven-point edge entering the fourth quarter, the Bulls outscored the Hornets 12-5 in overtime while rolling to a 62-42 advantage in points in the paint.

Coby White led Chicago with 27 points and pulled down six rebounds, while Andre Drummond had a double-double of 21 points and game-high 15 rebounds, and Nikola Vucevic added 21 points and 10 boards.

Vucevic (groin) and fellow starter Zach LaVine (right shoulder soreness, right foot inflammation) have come off the bench and been on minutes restrictions since returning from injury on Friday. The duo ultimately will start again, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said, but usual reserves — led by Drummond — have capitalized on opportunities in the meantime.

Drummond has tallied double-digit rebounds in seven straight games, averaging 17.4 boards over that span.

“I appreciate what Andre has done in the absence of Zach and Vuc,” Donovan said. “It’s always a little bit funky when you have guys coming back into the rotation. We got all of these guys coming back and we have to find a chemistry and cohesiveness.”

Houston has won six of the past 10 meetings with Chicago. Both teams prevailed on the other’s home floor to split the season series a year ago.

The Rockets hold a 73-72 all-time edge against the Bulls.

Dillon Brooks has missed the past seven games for Houston with a strained right oblique.

–Field Level Media

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