Some uncharacteristically poor defense has plagued the Chicago Bulls during their current rough stretch.
How challenging their next test will be likely depends on the health of Houston's James Harden.
The visiting Bulls look to avoid losing three in a row for the first time in more than 2 1/2 years when they try to hand the Rockets a fourth consecutive defeat Wednesday night.
Over the past two seasons under coach Tom Thibodeau, Chicago has been the NBA's top defensive team allowing 89.9 points per game and holding opponents to 42.6 percent shooting. The Bulls (5-5) gave up 88.7 and held their foes to a 42.1 field-goal percentage while winning four of the first six but have since struggled to guard the basket.
In losing three of four, the Bulls have yielded an average 102.5 points. In Sunday's 102-94 loss to Portland, the Trail Blazers shot 49.4 percent.
"The defense right now, the intensity, we've got to get that part right,'' said Thibodeau, whose team is 1-2 on a five-game tr...