Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden scored 27 points and the Houston Rockets defeated the Chicago Bulls 101-90 on Wednesday night.
Donatas Motiejunas had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Trevor Ariza added 20 points and Josh Smith pulled down 13 boards for the Rockets, who have won five of their last six games.
"Every night that's our moto is to be aggressive. We have so many guys that can come in here and play," Harden said.
Houston announced earlier Wednesday that center Dwight Howard received a bone marrow aspirate injection in his right knee and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. Howard has missed 17 games this season due to injuries, but the Rockets improved to 12-5 without him on the floor.
Jimmy Butler posted 27 points and six rebounds and Derrick Rose netted 23 points for Chicago, which has dropped three consecutive contests. Pau Gasol supplied 16 points and 12 boards and Joakim Noah snatched 19 rebounds in the loss.
"We need to figure it out ... We got to keep fighting," Noah said.
The Bulls trailed by as many as 16 in the third quarter, but closed the frame on a 14-4 run to get within five. Taj Gibson's layup in the waning moments of the period pulled Chicago within 75-70 entering the final stanza.
Houston, though, netted the first 13 points of the fourth to regain control.
Ariza poured in seven points during the surge and capped it with a layup for an 88-70 Rockets advantage with 8:32 remaining.
Chicago never got its deficit under nine the rest of the way.
Earlier, after the game was tied 27-27 following a quarter of play, Houston began to cause some separation during the middle stages of the second with a 12-3 swing.
Harden scored the final seven points of the flurry, and his driving layup gave the Rockets at 46-37 cushion.
Houston was up 57-48 at the break.
In 32 games this season, Howard is averaging 16.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. Joey Dorsey will start in his place for the time being ... Houston has won three straight home games against the Bulls ... Gibson finished with 12 points and 10 boards.