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Rockets vs. Bulls preview: Time to take care of business

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 3: Clint Capela
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 3: Clint Capela
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The Rockets will head to the Windy City to take on the Bulls tonight.

The Houston Rockets (27-11) are in a bit of a slump. Last game against the Drummond-less Pistons, the Rockets still managed to play bad enough defense to lose. They will definitely need to turn it around and take care of business tonight against the Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls (14-26) are one of the more interesting teams this season. After starting the year 3-20, they went on a 7-game winning streak and have been fairly respectable since then. They are coming off of a 39-point loss to the Pacers two nights ago, however.

The Rockets, even with the injury problems, should be able to handle the Bulls if they don’t play down to their competition. Let’s look at the injury report:

Injury Report

James Harden, of course, remains out with his hamstring injury. He’ll be re-examined in about a week, but his injury may last longer. Luc Mbah a Moute has worked out but hasn’t been cleared to practice yet after his dislocated shoulder injury. Troy Williams remains out and it is unknown if Nene will play.

Cameron Payne is out with a foot injury and Zach LaVine is recovering from an ACL tear but is close to returning for the Bulls.

Projected Starting 5

Rockets

Chris Paul/Eric Gordon/Trevor Ariza/Ryan Anderson/Clint Capela

Bulls

Kris Dunn/Justin Holiday/Denzel Valentine/Lauri Markkanen/Robin Lopez

Keys to Victory

The Rockets must get some sort of production out of Ryan Anderson. He has been slumping recently and needs to regain his confidence in his shot. However, even with the seeming lack of confidence, Jonathan Feigen reports that Ryno is as confident as ever.

Kris Dunn has been excellent on both ends of the court this season for the Bulls. Slowing him down will be a tough task for Chris Paul but it must be done.

Nikola Mirotic is another player that has been key for the Bulls this season. Keeping him off the 3-point line is key for the Rockets, as he is shooting a ridiculous 46.5% from deep this season.

Gerald Green‘s production off the bench will be needed as the Bulls have a fairly decent bench squad. Players like P.J. Tucker and Tarik Black will need to play great defense, as well.

With tonight being the College Football National Championship game at the same time, we will have a fairly limited live-tweeting of the game. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for score updates!

Next: What went wrong vs. the Pistons?

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