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Kevin Porter Jr. pours in 36 as Rockets race past Bulls

Dec 26, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) drives to the basket against Houston Rockets forward Tari Eason (17) during the first half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Porter Jr. scored 15 of his season-high 36 points in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets snapped a five-game losing streak with a 133-118 victory over the host Chicago Bulls.

After Chicago cut what was a 19-point deficit to 109-100, Porter responded with back-to-back 3-pointers and a midrange pull-up that allowed the Rockets to finally seize control of a back-and-forth affair.

Porter had plenty of help, however, as Alperen Sengun added 25 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while Jalen Green chipped in 24 points and six rebounds.

Porter, who added nine assists and seven boards, and Green each hit six 3-pointers while shooting a combined 12-for-22 from deep. The Rockets hit 55.6 percent of their field-goal attempts and 17 of 44 (38.6 percent) from 3-point range.

DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 31 points and nine assists. Zach LaVine scored 22 points and Coby White had 14 off the bench for the Bulls, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Buoyed by a closing run in the first half that gave Chicago a one-point edge at the break, the Bulls opened the third quarter with a 9-3 burst that extended the lead to 74-67, their largest margin of the game.

Houston called a timeout to slow the deluge and answered with a 17-1 run that featured three Sengun dunks, including one in transition and through a foul that, with the resulting free throw, led to Houston taking a one-point lead. Porter added an alley-oop dunk off a Green pass as Houston upped the lead to 84-75 with 5:12 to play.

The Rockets scored the first 10 points of the contest and extended to a 23-5 lead on a Sengun three-point play. Chicago, mostly behind reserve guard Goran Dragic and his 10 first-half points off the bench, shaved eight points off that deficit by the close of the first, a quarter in which the Rockets shot 12 of 12 from inside the arc.

DeRozan pulled the Bulls back into contention with a quick flurry that included two three-point plays sandwiched around a pullup jumper, with the final DeRozan free throw in that sequence cutting Houston’s lead to 46-42. The Rockets appeared to establish control when they extended their lead back to a dozen points, but Chicago capped the half with a 15-3 surge.

LaVine scored nine points during the rally via an alley-oop dunk, a 3-pointer and another buzzer-beating trey that ended the half and gave the Bulls a 65-64 lead at the intermission.

–Field Level Media