CHICAGO -- Derrick Rose got the opening he needed with the game on the line.
"They just gave me a little daylight, and I shot the ball," Rose said.
Rose scored five points in the overtime, including his fourth 3-pointer of the game.
"Derrick had a great edge today, right from the start of the game," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "That game was his will. It looked like we were going nowhere and he willed that win."
Houston called timeout and after running a play, former Bulls player Brad Miller, who had already made four 3-pointers, popped open behind the circle, but missed.
"We were just trying to work the pick and roll and see what kind of option came out of it," Miller said. "I felt good on it, but I just didn't get it done."
Chicago rebounded and Ronnie Brewer was fouled. Brewer missed the first of two, putting the Bulls up 119-116 with 4.5 seconds remaining. After a timeout Miller caught the ball out top and appeared to want to hand the ball off to a curling teammate, but no one came open. Miller then missed a contested 3 at the buzzer.
Miller scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help the Rockets overcame a 14-point deficit, but missed a free throw with 10.7 remaining to set up Rose's tying shot.
After Miller made his second free throw at the end of regulation, Chicago pushed the ball up court. Rose worked for most of the last 10 seconds to get open, before taking a handoff from Joakim Noah and hitting a shot from the right side over Houston's Kyle Lowry.
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"I think that was the first time I've celebrated this who year after I shot a shot," Rose said. "It felt good knowing that I'm capable of knocking down shots like that."
Rockets coach Rick Adelman would have preferred that his team had fouled Rose to prevent a 3-point attempt.
"It was hard to communicate that to them," Adelman said. "We didn't foul him with 7 to 10 seconds to go and it allowed him to pass it and get the ball back. Give him credit, he made a really tough shot. This was a very tough loss for us. We had a chance to win and didn't."
Rose added seven rebounds, 11 assists and five steals, and Carlos Boozer, in his best game for the Bulls, had 25 points and nine rebounds.
"In the first half, [Rose] set the tone with his defense," Thibodeau said. "He really competed hard."
Lowry scored 16 points for the Rockets and hit several key baskets in the final minutes.
Rose took over the scoring load for Chicago's offense midway through the fourth quarter. He beat Lowry on a baseline drive, finishing on the opposite of the basket with spinning layup. On the Bulls' next trip, Lowry back off of Rose, who simply dribbled and hit a 3-point shot, putting the Bulls up by five.
But Houston hit back-to-back 3-pointers of its own. Courtney Lee hit one from the left side. Then, after Rose's 3, Miller made one from the top of the circle, drawing Houston to 94-92 with 5:06 to play.
Chicago led 96-92 a minute later when Lee struck again, hitting another 3 from about the same spot, drawing the Rockets within a point.
Boozer made one of two at the line for Chicago, before Lee and Miller went to work again.
Lee put the ball on the floor this time, beating Ronnie Brewer along the baseline for a layup and drawing a foul. Lee's free throw completed yet another three-point trip for the Rockets and put them up 98-97.
Lee then stole the ball from Rose, setting up another 3-pointer for Miller. Houston led 101-97 and was on a 14-3 run. The last 12 of those points came on the four three-point trips and set up the tight finish.
- The Rockets failed in their bid to put together their first three-game winning streak of the season.
- There was a sellout crowd of 21,232 at the United Center. The Bulls lead the NBA in attendance and have sold out all eight of their home games.