Houston Rockets vs Chicago Bulls Preview

By Michael Ma

Nov 21, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah (13) fouls Houston Rockets small forward Chandler Parsons (25) during the fourth quarter at the Toyota Center. The Rockets won 93-89. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing loss to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday, the Houston Rockets look to bounce back with head coach Kevin McHale returning to the sidelines Wednesday night. Here are the keys to the game against the Chicago Bulls.

Playing Short-Handed

Both James Harden and Jeremy Lin are questionable to play, which would leave the Rockets without a perimeter play-making threat if both players are unable to go. The player to keep an eye on is Francisco Garcia, who has struggled with his shot recently, averaging just 6.8 points and shooting 35 percent from behind the 3-point line. The Bulls may be without Kirk Hinrich as well, but they do get Jimmy Butler back, who recently returned from injury.

Respect The Opponent

It’s been glaringly obvious so far this season that the Rockets don’t play with the same intensity against sub .500 teams than they do against contending teams. Sunday’s loss to the Kings proved to be another example. With the Bulls sitting at 9-14 and without Derrick Rose, they desperately need to start winning to get back into the eastern conference playoff race.

Complete Contrast

This matchup is another classic tale of offense meets defense: the Rockets are second in the NBA in points scored per game, at 107, and the Bulls are 2nd in the NBA in points given up per game, at 92.4. But the Bulls will do their best to slow the game down, as they are scoring just 91.8 points per game, which ranks them 3rd to last. Whichever team can dictate the pace will have the upper hand.

Tip: 8:30 PM CT