The Chicago Bulls have been beaten handily by their last three Western Conference opponents, but could be facing the right one to end that slide.
The Bulls will be without Derrick Rose once again on Monday night when they try to defeat the visiting Houston Rockets for the sixth straight time.
Chicago (42-12) has lost by double digits to its last three foes from the West, including Sunday's 92-78 road defeat to conference-leading Oklahoma City. The Bulls shot a season-low 33.0 percent.
"They really just kicked our (butt)," said center Joakim Noah, who went 1 for 8 and finished with five points and six rebounds. "That really hasn't happened to us in a long time so for us to lose like that is bad, we've gotta bounce back."
Rose missed his 10th straight game due to an injured groin that is preventing him from running. Coach Tom Thibodeau did not blame the loss on the absence of the reigning league MVP.
"Derrick's a great player. Obviously, we prefer to have him,'' Thibodeau said. "...