By Myka Williams
During a Friday night showdown in Big D, the Dallas Mavericks (7-4) faced an up-and-coming Eastern Conference (7-4) Chicago Bulls team that rallied from a 12-point third quarter deficit. After a back-and-forth contest, the Bulls ousted the Mavericks 88-83.
Dynamic duo’s Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson led the Bulls, attacking the cylinder with their scoring ability. Rose finished with 22 points and dished out six assists, while Gibson added 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
“It’s disappointing to lose,” Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Gibson had a huge night and they had additional opportunities. Unfortunately, that’s how you can lose games. Playing zone has been effective for us, but the Bulls are an energetic high and moving team. It came down to a (one) possession game.”
The Bulls played stellar defense and led 39-35 at the half — holding the Mavericks to a season low of 35 points in any half. Dallas erupted in the third quarter with six points from forward Caron Butler, and two three-pointers from Nowitzki to take a 55-43 lead with 5:07 left to play in the quarter.
With that being said, the Mavericks were off to a shaky start shooting just 29.4 percent from the field in the first quarter which allowed the Bulls to jump out to a 19-13 lead.
Forward Dirk Nowitzki had a season high of 36 points, and Caron Butler with 12 points were the only two players to finish the game with double-figures in scoring.
The Mavericks were outscored 42-26 in the paint during the course of the game.
Bulls guard Kyle Korver amassed 14 points and center Joakim Noah added 10 points with 17 total rebounds.
With the Bulls 59-34 rebounding explosion, they also had a 25-8 asset of second-chance points.
“They did a great job on the boards, and really attacked the offensive glass,” Mavericks center Brendan Haywood said. “We were in zone most of the time that led to mismatch and rebound responsibilities. Rose put a lot of pressure on guys at the rim forcing bigs to help.”
The Bulls aren’t quite a powerhouse, yet, and have not fared well on their annual circus road trips. But after finishing 2-1 in their Texas Triangle tour, they ended their 1-12 skid at the American Airlines Center.
However, the Mavericks still lead 29-32 in their all-time series match-up with the Bulls.
The Bulls will travel to Los Angeles Tuesday to face Kobe Bryant and a tenacious Lakers (11-2) team.
The Mavericks will look tally in the win column when they arrive in Atlanta Saturday to test a young Hawks (8-4) with a 1-2 punch in Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson.
“They’re tough at home and have a lot of guys who can make plays,” Nowitzki said. “They are a high-energy team that has flyers and shooters. We’ll get there late so we’ll have to get some rest. We’re approaching a big game so we’ll see what happens.”