HOUSTON (AP) Eric Gordon scored 31 points and tied a career high with eight 3-pointers on a night James Harden sat out to rest, and the Houston Rockets got their 10th straight win with a 118-86 rout of the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.
The NBA-leading Rockets became the first team since San Antonio in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season to have three winning streaks of at least 10 games in a season. They won 14 in a row from Nov. 16-Dec. 18 and 17 straight from Jan. 28-March 7.
Lauri Markkanen returned after missing Saturday’s game with lower back spasms and had 22 points for the Bulls, who dropped their sixth straight.
The Rockets had a 21-point lead at halftime, paced by 24 points from Gordon, and opened the third quarter with a 16-2 run to extend it to 76-41 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the quarter. Ariza had eight points, powered by two 3-pointers in that stretch.
The Bulls couldn’t do anything right in that span, missing four shots and committing five turnovers, including one on a shot clock violation and another when David Nwaba stepped out of bounds.
Nwaba made Chicago’s first basket in more than 3 1/2 minutes, but the Rockets scored the next seven points to make it a 40-point lead with just more than five minutes left in the quarter.
After never trailing in their blowout wins over New Orleans and Atlanta, the Rockets spent 13 seconds behind on Tuesday night after Cameron Payne put Chicago up 2-0 with a basket early in the first.
Gordon’s first 3-pointer came next to put Houston up for good. It was the first of a 14-3 run that put the Rockets ahead 14-5 with about 8 1/2 minutes left in the quarter.
Markkanen had the next seven points to get Chicago within two, but an 11-2 spurt by Houston followed to extend the lead to 25-14.
Chicago cut the lead to eight on a 3-pointer by Denzel Valentine about nine minutes before halftime before the Rockets used a 13-2 run to extend it to 51-32 five minutes later. Nene had four points in that stretch and Gordon added five, including a 3-pointer to cap it.
The Rockets were up by 16 late in the second when Gordon scored all of Houston’s points in an 8-4 run to wrap up the first half and make it 60-39.
Bulls: Sean Kilpatrick, who signed a three-year deal on Tuesday, had 12 points and two rebounds. … Noah Vonleh had 10 points and 12 rebounds. … Chicago had 18 turnovers.
Rockets: Luc Mbah a Moute missed his third straight game with a sore left knee. … Houston made 18 3-pointers to give them at least 15 in six of the last seven games. … Tuesday was the third straight game where Houston held its opponent to less than 50 points in the first half.
Bulls: Visit Miami on Thursday.
Rockets: Host Phoenix on Friday.