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Bulls continue dying from three-point range as Rockets win laugher

The team’s analytics department and stats nerds everywhere have been pushing for the Bulls to launch three-pointers. They were 4-for-32 on Saturday.

They’re the kind of numbers that have a lot of people excited when talking about the Bulls this season.

The Bulls entered their game Saturday against the Rockets 10th in the NBA in three-point attempts at 35.1 per game. That’s a far cry from last season, when they ranked 27th at 25.9 per game.

Now they’re playing ‘‘modern basketball,’’ launching three-pointers at a franchise-record pace. It’s attack the rim or shoot the three. Midrange jumpers be damned.

The Bulls’ analytics department loves it, the basement bloggers love it and stats nerds everywhere are rejoicing.

There is one problem, however. At last check, the object of the game is to win it. Maybe the Bulls aren’t good at living and dying with the three-pointer. Further evidence of that came in their 117-94 loss to the Rockets, which dropped them to 3-7.

The Rockets lead the league in three-point attempts and have a better track record of using the long-range game as a weapon.

Not the Bulls, however. After entering the game shooting a dismal 33.2 percent from three-point range, the Bulls were even worse against the Rockets, going 4-for-32 (12.5 percent).

Still, the players are buying into the new philosophy and think the outside shooting will improve.

‘‘Yeah, because we have really good three-point shooters on the team,’’ said guard Zach LaVine, who shot 5-for-17 overall and 1-for-7 from three-point range. ‘‘If you start slow, eventually the numbers will average out, get you where you’re supposed to be at. I feel like I’m shooting the ball pretty well. Otto [Porter], before he hurt himself, got really hot in that Atlanta game; his shot started to come on. Lauri [Markkanen] made a couple of threes, so it’s picking up.

‘‘I mean, it’s tough to try and switch it up. I feel like I’ve done a good job of taking less middies [midrange shots]. I still shoot the ones that are open, but [shooting threes is] the style of play that we want, and we’re going to work it.’’

But at what cost? That’s still not being explained. The Bulls are trying to play a style of basketball that basically exposes one of their weaknesses.

They weren’t good at shooting three-pointers last season (19th in the NBA at 35.1 percent), and it wasn’t like they added pure shooters this offseason.

So on a night the Bulls said goodbye to retiring public-address announcer Tommy Edwards, they also continued saying goodbye to their preseason goals of being a playoff team.

Rockets star James Harden made sure of that, scoring 42 points and falling an assist short of a triple-double. Plus, the Rockets outscored the Bulls 36-18 in the third quarter to turn a close game into a rout.

Still, Boylen was all but defiant at the idea of tweaking the Bulls’ new offensive philosophy.

‘‘They made them, and we didn’t,’’ Boylen said.

When he was asked if it was that simple, Boylen said: ‘‘You guys watched the game. Did you see [the Rockets] do anything special? I didn’t see them do anything special.

‘‘We have guys shooting below their career averages by multiple points. Will that turn? I think it will. It’s frustrating when it doesn’t; I get it. I’m sitting over there with it, too. . . .

‘‘They made shots in the third, and we didn’t. That’s all that happened. . . . To come in here and think I’m going to change my system or change what we’ve been doing, it’s not what I’m about.’’