The physical challenge continues for the Dallas Mavericks (35-37) as they finish their six-game homestand against the Chicago Bulls (39-31). Dallas will need to be ready as Chicago is as tough as they come, even if they’re short-handed. The Bulls ended the Heat’s 27-game winning streak with a 101-97 victory on Wednesday, bringing a close to the second-longest streak in NBA history. The win marked the longest streak ever stopped by the Bulls, with the previous high being a 20-game streak by the Milwaukee Bucks that the Bulls ended with a 110-103 overtime victory in Chicago on March 9, 1971.
With a road record of 19-15 (.559), Chicago holds the third-best road winning percentage in the Eastern Conference. The Mavericks will need to be ready, and be ready early with an early tip-off time, for what they Bulls will throw their way, no matter who is on the floor. Dallas was able to catch a break with the Los Angeles Lakers losing to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night. They didn’t lose any ground in their chase for the 8th spot, but they can’t afford to let opportunities like that slip through their fingers anymore.
Here are the notes for the game between the Mavericks and the Bulls.
The Bulls have won four straight against the Mavericks (Dallas has not managed more than 83 points in each of the last four meetings). Dallas won 21-of-24 against Chicago prior to dropping the most recent four meetings (the Mavericks won 13 straight against the Bulls from Mar. 12, 1998 through Dec. 13, 2004).
The Bulls took the first matchup between the two teams this season (at Chicago on Nov. 28) and have now won three straight at home against the Mavericks. The Mavericks have taken 12 of the last 14 meetings in Dallas.
The Bulls and the Mavericks met once in 2011-12 (at Chicago on Apr. 21, 2012) and Chicago recorded a 93-83 win. The Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak against the Mavericks with an 88-83 win at Dallas on Nov. 19, 2010. It also ended the Bulls’ five-game road losing streak against the Mavericks. Prior to the victory on Nov. 19, 2010, the Bulls had not defeated the Mavericks in Dallas since Feb. 8, 2005 (107-100). Both teams recorded their lowest point totals against one another to date in the Bulls’ 82-77 victory at Chicago on Jan. 20, 20111.
The Bulls lead the all-time series, 32-31.
It’s a Small World:
Elton Brand was drafted by Chicago with the first overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft and played his first two seasons with the Bulls from 1999-2001. Brand shared Rookie of the Year honors with Steve Francis for the 1999-00 season.
Chris Kaman and Bulls guard Marco Belinelli were teammates in New Orleans during the 2011-12 season.
Mavericks forward Shawn Marion was born in Waukegan, Illinois.
Mike James appeared in 11 games for Chicago in 2011-12, averaging 4.8 points, 2.6 assists and 10.9 minutes while filling in for the injured Derrick Rose.
Rick Carlisle coached Bulls guard Richard Hamilton when they were both with the Detroit Pistons in 2002-03.
Jae Crowder and Bulls guard Jimmy Butler were college teammates at Marquette during the 2010-11 season.
Bulls assistant coach Adrian Griffin played for the Mavericks from 2001-03 and again in 2005-06.
1. Rebound the basketball. The Mavericks only have to go back to their last game to see that rebounding is a serious issue for them. With the total being 55-34, Indiana clobbered Dallas on the glass. Nov. 24 against the Lakers still remains the largest rebounding deficit the Mavericks had this year (-22). There were many highlights during the championship year of 2010-11, but the first game against the Bulls that season was not one of them. Taj Gibson had 18 rebounds in the 88-83 victory over the Mavericks on Nov. 19, 2010. Dallas was outrebounded 59-34 by Chicago. The Bulls had 20 offensive rebounds in that game. Chicago held a 44-30 advantage on the boards in the first meeting against Dallas this year and ranks near the top of the NBA with a plus-2.4 rebounding differential.
2. Be prepared for another defensive challenge. The Bulls, allowing 92.4 points per game to rank third in the league, are one of only three teams to hold the Mavericks under 80 points this season. Dallas, 0-15 this season when failing to score 92, has been held below 85 points in every matchup during its four-game losing streak in this series.
3. Ride the Mayo effect. OJ Mayo has been the iron man for the team this season as he has yet to miss a game this season, but he is dealing with an injury. He suffered an injury to his left shoulder after chasing a loose ball in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He went on to play the game against the Indiana Pacers but did so with the support of a shoulder harness. After the team’s practice on Friday, Mayo saw the team’s medical staff to get an MRI on the shoulder. It’s not expected to be injured enough for him to miss any time. With that in mind, Mayo has averaged 18.4 points on 51.4 percent shooting (.531 3FG) in Dallas’ 35 wins this season. Dallas is 8-3 this season in games in which he scored at least 25 points and 3-1 in games in which he scored at least 30. The Mavericks are also 15-10 in games in which Mayo was their leading scorer (includes ties), and that includes five overtime losses. With Dirk rolling, Mayo, even though he is a little banged up, needs to step up as the team continues to make their push for the 8th spot.
Bryan Gutierrez writes about sportsmen. He is a contributing writer for Mavs.com. Bryan also attended Ball So Hard University. You can follow him on Twitter @BallinWithBryan.