The Houston Rockets had little trouble pounding a depleted Golden State Warriors squad on Wednesday and are developing a rhythm as they prepare for a two-game road trip. James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Rockets will try to continue to get comfortable with each other when they visit the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
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Houston made one of the biggest moves of the offseason by trading for Westbrook to pair alongside Harden in the backcourt and the two high-usage superstars are having more trouble helping the team on the defensive end than finding a way to divide up the shots on offense. The Rockets are 29th in the league in scoring defense entering play on Friday, allowing an average of 121.8 points, but were solid on the defensive end while beating Memphis 107-100 on Monday and limited the Warriors to 39.6 percent shooting in Wednesday's win. The Bulls won't test that Houston defense with the most explosive offense in the league but are taking some steps forward and shot 50 percent from the floor in a 113-93 triumph at Atlanta on Wednesday, one day after squandering a big lead in a home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. "I think we were all frustrated the way the last game went, but this league is all about that," Chicago swingman Tomas Satoransky told reporters. "We almost beat one of the best teams, playing 36 minutes of good basketball. Then you have to bounce back in another city. I think we did that today and hopefully this can be a turnaround game for us."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet Southwest (Houston), NBCS Chicago-plus
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (5-3): Harden has yet to see a decline in scoring while playing with Westbrook and leads the league at an average of 36.5 points. The superstar posted his second consecutive double-double with 36 points and 13 assists in Wednesday's triumph while Westbrook collected 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but Houston is still working on getting its defense to play with consistent effort. "It's just a matter of heart," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters, "and will and communication and getting it done. We can't make adjustments until they play as hard as they can."
ABOUT THE BULLS (3-6): Satoransky delivered a career-high 27 points in Wednesday's win to go with eight assists and seven rebounds and feels like Chicago is moving in the right direction. "We are trying to get there," Satoransly told reporters. "This definitely helps get you in the direction you want to be. ... You just keep going. We are trying to figure it out as soon as possible. We are in a good direction now." Power forward Lauri Markkanen shot under 50 percent from the floor in seven consecutive games before scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including a season-best 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, in Wednesday's victory.
1. Bulls SF Otto Porter Jr. (foot) left Wednesday's game and is questionable.
2. Rockets SG Eric Gordon (hamstring) sat out Wednesday and is day-to-day.
3. Houston is riding a six-game winning streak in the series.
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no tickets found.
- Heelday-to-day | probable
Capela is idle due to plantar fasciitis in his right heel. It is likely that he will make his team debut once the league gets back in action.