Rockets surge past Bulls 120-97

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 25, 2012 at 10:39 pm •  Published: December 25, 2012
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He entered the game averaging 10.6 points and 11.4 rebounds, and put together perhaps his best game of the season.

Asik received a round of applause when he was introduced at the beginning of the game, but the hospitality didn't last. He quickly heard jeers when he stepped to the free throw line early in the first quarter.

"I'm just happy we won the game," Asik said.

He added he did not think much about his return to Chicago.

"He was great just rolling to the basket," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "They played four out and one in and he was able to get a lot of easy things around the rim."

Harden, fourth in the league in scoring, followed up two strong performances — 37 points against Detroit and 45 against Atlanta — with another strong game. He was 7 for 13 from the field and 11 for 13 from the free throw line.

Houston improved to 11-2 against the Eastern Conference.

The Bulls had won nine of 13 to climb into first place in the Eastern Conference's Central Division, but were flat for the second consecutive game. Chicago lost 92-75 Saturday in Atlanta.

Boos came down from the United Center crowd when Asik scored to make it 82-51 in the third quarter.

"If you are not right and don't have an edge, you are not going to win without the right amount of intensity," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "They completely outplayed us from the start."

Chicago cut the Houston lead to 100-85 with just under eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but a 6-0 Rockets' run ended the rally.

NOTE: Both teams have quick turnarounds for Wednesday games. The Bulls travel to Indianapolis to play the Pacers and the Rockets visit the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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