Bulls beat Rockets; Portis comments on his former team's culture, Beverly turns in best performance so far

Former Bulls power forward Bobby Portis made an interesting statement on the J.J. Redick podcast.

Portis was asked about the 2017 incident at training camp when he got into an altercation that left Bulls teammate Nikola Mirotic with facial fractures.

"It wasn't our first time doing it as well," Portis said on the podcast. "Everybody did that on the Bulls. That was the culture. Everybody got into a little scuffle."

A scuffling culture on the rebuilding Bulls during the Fred Hoiberg era? Portis didn't elaborate, but his career turned out well. He won a championship with Milwaukee and should be one of the top vote-getters for the Sixth Man Award.

It's hard to imagine the current Bulls battling each other in practice. They needed to show some fight Saturday against the Houston Rockets, though. The Rockets (15-52) have the worst record in the Western Conference, but beat the Bulls at the United Center on Dec. 26.

Leave it to newcomer Patrick Beverley to push and pull his Bulls teammates to a big finish and 119-111 win in Houston. Beverley, who spent his first five NBA seasons with the Rockets, had his best game in a Bulls uniform with 16 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists, while hitting 4 of 5 shots from 3-point range.

He even dropped in a hook hot over Houston center Alperen Sengun. After the game, Beverley posed for a jersey swap with Rockets backup center and commercial star Boban Marjanovic.

Zach LaVine stayed hot, finishing with 36 points, DeMar DeRozan added 27, while Nikola Vucevic contributed 18 points and 12 boards.

After the game, Bulls coach Billy Donovan praised his team for not getting discouraged when the Rockets hit some tough shots in the third quarter.

"They're a hard team to guard because they're fast, they're athletic and they've got guys that can all put the ball on the floor and beat you off the dribble," he said. "The biggest thing is I felt there was some resolve there.

"We kept staying with it. I think they were 1-for-11 in the fourth quarter from 3. Then I thought the defense the last five minutes we just were in there helping, we had active hands. We got some steals that allowed us to get on the break. I just felt we stayed the court."

This started as another typical Bulls performance, playing to the level of competition. They fell behind by 13 points early in the second quarter.

The Bulls tied the score at the 8:30 mark of the fourth quarter on a DeRozan 3-point play. But the Rockets came right back with a Jalen Green basket and foul, then when he missed the free throw, rookie Jabari Smith snared the offensive rebound and finished a dunk for a 4-point possession.

When the Bulls tied it again a couple minutes later, Alex Caruso finished a fast-break lay-in, then stepped on a courtside cameraman. Caruso, who has been nursing a sore foot, stayed in the game, but appeared to be in some pain when it happened.

Defense definitely sealed the win for the Bulls. Caruso was credited with 3 blocks and a steal during a two-minute span when the Bulls took the lead late. They gave good help when Kenyon Martin Jr. tried to post up Beverley, and survived the possession when Beverley tried to draw a charge and didn't get the whistle.

The Bulls (31-36) are back in 10th place, which is the final play-in spot, based on holding the tiebreaker against Washington.

Twitter: @McGrawDHSports

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