The contact came during a second-quarter fast break, with Dunleavy retreating to protect the rim and Chicago's five-point lead, and Parsons pushing the pace to get a layup. In the process, he rocked Dunleavy just above the right eye, sending Dunleavy to the deck and opening up a gash almost instantly.
The 33-year-old Duke product popped up and immediately ran off the court, and it's easy to understand why; TNT's cameras soon showed that the 12th-year pro was bleeding like a wrestler aggressively selling a chairshot.
Shortly after Dunleavy headed to the locker room, the Bulls' public relations team announced that he had "a laceration over his right eye" — which, duh — and was questionable to return. He sat out the remainder of the half, received 10 stitches to close the wound, and was back on the floor to start the second half, because this is Chicago, and this is Tom Thibodeau's team, and if you're not bleeding so much that you can't make sure to tag the roll man and make the right cut, then you've got enough blood to win. This led to a pretty ridiculous moment where TNT's Rachel Nichols was reporting that Dunleavy was questionable to return ... with Dunleavy on the court as the third quarter began.
Not only was Dunleavy on the court, though — he was ready to work.
After missing his first shot of the quarter, Dunleavy got cooking, putting down a bunny off a feed from Jimmy Butler to get on the board after a scoreless first half. Seeing the ball go through the rim appeared to open things up for Dunleavy, who made three straight jumpers, including a pair of triples, over the next 4 1/2 minutes, and went on to score 18 points on 7 for 11 shooting (3 for 4 from 3-point range) with five rebounds in the third quarter alone. Less than an hour after getting his face sliced open, Dunleavy outscored the Rockets by himself in the third, 18-16, helping Chicago open up a monstrous 85-58 lead over the out-of-sorts Rockets after three quarters.
Dunleavy added another long ball in the fourth, finishing with a team-high 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in 37 minutes as Chicago blew out Kevin McHale's Rockets, 111-87, at United Center. In a battle of All-Star big men, Joakim Noah (13 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals) got the better of Dwight Howard (12 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks but seven turnovers in 28 1/2 minutes), offering his now customary sensational on-ball and help defense along with elite high-post offensive facilitation to pace Thibodeau's club to its seventh win in 10 games.
Six Bulls scored in double figures, as Thibodeau's normally offense-challenged team shot 50 percent from the floor, made a season-high 14 3-pointers in 24 attempts, and dished a season-high 35 assists on 43 made field goals against just seven turnovers. Chicago now sits one game behind the Toronto Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, and has a two-game advantage over the fifth-seeded Brooklyn Nets.
Jeremy Lin led the way for the Rockets with 21 points off the bench on a night where Houston's big guns just couldn't get anything going against the Bulls' defense. Parsons missed 10 of his 11 field-goal attempts, finishing with just two points, two rebounds and three turnovers in 26 minutes, while James Harden scored just eight points on 2 for 7 shooting. Houston finished a dismal 35.4 percent from the floor, including a 5 for 26 mark from 3-point land, in dropping their second straight game to fall to 44-21, 1 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference.
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