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Bulls rally late to ground Rockets

THE Chicago Bulls scored the final 10 points of the game to cap a recovery from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit and defeat the Houston Rockets 105-102 on Saturday, ending the visitors' six-game winning streak.

Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 22 points, including a clutch field goal with 32 seconds to play that gave Chicago a 104-102 lead.

Ron Artest powered the Rockets with a season-high 32 points but Houston did not score after his three-pointer gave it a 102-95 lead with 2:16 to play.

"I'm proud our guys hung in," Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro told reporters. "It was a great win for us against a Houston team as good as any we've played with their size and shooting."

In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Heat 120, Knicks 115; Magic 106, 76ers 100; Thunder 99, Grizzlies 92; Bucks 109, Wizards 93; Jazz 102, Kings 89; and Bobcats 100, Clippers 95.

In Chicago, the Rockets held a 99-82 advantage with slightly less than six minutes to go but were outscored 23-3 by the Bulls.

Chicago reeled off 13 consecutive points to edge within four before Artest hit his three-pointer - Houston's only field goal for the game's last 5:51. The Bulls then went on a 10-0 run to seal it.

"I liked our toughness. I liked our attitude," Del Negro said.

Tyrus Thomas added 19 points for the Bulls, Ben Gordon had 16, John Salmons 12 and Brad Miller 11. Joakim Noah finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Houston's Yao Ming backed up Artest with 17 points and Luis Scola had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Artest, who missed a three with 11 seconds left, took the blame for the loss. "There were things I could have done to help us sustain the lead we had. We made a lot of progress, we just had a bad fourth quarter."

Houston coach Rick Adelman was more than willing to agree with that. "The fourth quarter we were awful," he said. "We swung the ball and we were going to attack the other side and we didn't do it. We got very, very non-aggressive."

It was Chicago's first win since the deaths of franchise icons Norm Van Lier and Johnny "Red" Kerr.


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