Game 40: Mavs vs. Bulls

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Powell Alley-Oop

J. J. Barea lobs a pass over the defense to Dwight Powell for an alley-oop.

DALLAS — Hopeful to rebound after suffering a 125-122 defeat Wednesday against the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks stepped back onto their home floor two nights later eager to redeem themselves.

Welcoming in the upstart Chicago Bulls, the Mavericks tried to get back in the win column. The Mavs also attempted to move to 1-1 on their current four-game homestand, looking to bounce back after a narrow loss to the reigning titleholders. But despite taking an eight-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Mavericks (13-27) were admittedly left shaking their heads after suffering a second straight loss following a 127-124 defeat on their home floor.

“It wasn’t a very good game tonight. It’s a bad loss,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews matter-of-factly admitted after the game.

Picking up where he left off at after making seven three-pointers versus Golden State, Matthews got the Mavericks on the board with another triple. However, as the Bulls (14-25) found success early behind point guard Kris Dunn and rookie big man Lauri Markkanen, Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was forced to burn a timeout when his team fell in an 18-7 hole with 8:29 remaining in the opening quarter.

The Bulls then started the game making their first eight shots from the field, opening up a 13-point lead in the process. Mavs leading scorer Harrison Barnes countered while attempting to will his team back into the game, leading a 9-0 run that was capped by second-year standout Yogi Ferrell’s three-pointer to make it a 27-23 deficit. Still, despite 19 combined points from the duo of Barnes and Matthews in the first period, the Mavericks trailed 34-28 entering the second stanza.

“I mean, the game plan was to go under on Dunn and make him shoot jumpers. He made jumpers to start the game out. Markkanen, we weren’t supposed to give him any, and he got open a couple of times. He made a couple of shots, and I think they started 8 for 8 to begin the game,” Mavs rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. said.

After allowing the Bulls to shoot 13 of 19 from the field in the first quarter, the Mavs tried to lock in at the defensive end of the floor. Meanwhile, backup point guard J.J. Barea found reserve big man Dwight Powell for an alley-oop connection to supply the early offense. Barea stayed on the attack from there, sandwiching a score of his own with feeds to fellow reserve Devin Harris and 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki to bring the Mavericks within four, 42-38, with 7:55 left in the first half.

The undersized point guard’s bullet pass to Nowitzki made it a two-point game shortly after that as the Mavs continued to rally. Barea then connected with Powell on another lob pass to trim the margin to one, 49-48. Smith also began to contribute with a jumper over Dunn to keep the home team within one at 51-50 with 2:55 before the break. However, the Bulls closed the half strong behind Markkanen’s 14 points, taking a 57-53 edge into the intermission.

Led by Markkanen’s 5-of-7 shooting, the Bulls outshot the Mavericks through two quarters, 55.3 percent to 51.1 percent. The Bulls also held a 24-17 rebounding advantage, overcoming their nine turnovers in the half while the Mavs committed just three giveaways.

Swishing a three early in the third quarter, Nowitzki looked to attack in the second half. Matthews took matters from there with five straight points, putting the Mavericks up 63-59 in the process. And after Matthews connected on his fifth triple of the game, the Mavs built a 70-66 edge.

Matthews continued to fire the hot hand later in the quarter, swishing a step-back jumper over Markkanen to put the Mavericks ahead 76-71. Harris’ driving assist to Barnes in the corner for a three made it an 81-73 advantage. But with Dunn continuing to keep the Bulls in the game at the other end of the floor, Barea’s three to close the third-quarter scoring sent the Mavs into the final period with an 88-80 margin under their belt.

Surrendering a 10-0 Chicago run to start the fourth quarter, the Mavericks quickly found themselves in a dogfight and a 90-88 hole with 9:57 remaining.

“You know, we made a push and took the lead back going into the fourth, and they went on a 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Both of those bad starts in the first quarter and last quarter really hurt us,” Smith admitted.

The run continued to 12-1 before Ferrell’s timely three-pointer tied the game at 92-all. And after Nowitzki’s three from the wing, the Mavericks again battled to a 97-97 stalemate. Nowitzki intervened once again with a three from the other side of the court, putting the Mavs back ahead 100-98. However, with Nowitzki on the bench, the Dallas offensive attack grew stagnant while the Bulls charged back in front on a 7-0 run, leading to a Carlisle timeout with 4:08 remaining.

Not to be outdone, Barnes jumped back into the scoring with a relentless drive to the rim. Barnes again answered Markkanen’s emphatic put-back finish with a score inside. But after Dunn’s three-pointer put the Bulls up six with 2:15 left, the Mavs’ costly turnovers down the stretch would begin to pile up. Dunn’s inbound pass to big man Nikola Mirotic then forced the Mavericks to use their final timeout after falling behind 114-104 with 1:08 left to play. Refusing to give up, Smith led a late scoring barrage to cut the deficit to one after a three-pointer trimmed the disadvantage to 125-124 with 3.2 ticks remaining. The Bulls then put the game away in the final moments with clutch strokes at the charity stripe down the stretch, leading to Ferrell’s miss from three as time expired.

Scoring 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting and 5 of 9 from three, Matthews led the Mavs in a losing effort. Barnes added 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the first unit, and Nowitzki pitched in 19 points. Smith recorded 15 points and seven assists, and Powell finished with 13 points and six boards off the bench. Barea made it six Mavericks in double figures with 11 points and nine assists in a reserve role.

“As a team, we’ve got a team that can really compete when we want to. But like I said in the past, it’s just about doing it for a full game as a full unit,” Smith explained. “We’ve got to give it all we’ve got from start to finish.”

Dunn led six Bulls in double figures with 32 points on 12-of-17 shooting, dishing nine assists to boot. The Bulls also outshot the Mavericks for the game, 56.4 percent to 53.3 percent, adding a 42-34 rebounding advantage and 20 points off Dallas’ 13 giveaways to overcome their own 19 turnovers.

“We let them start 8 for 8 to start the game, and at the start of the fourth quarter they went on a 10-0 run in two minutes. That’s unacceptable, and going forward we’ve got to get back to that brand of basketball that we’ve been playing,” Matthews proclaimed.

“It probably had something to do with us allowing an 8-for-8 start to start the game. That’s one problem, and then a 10-0 run to start the fourth. And then look, we were playing the foul game at the end, so that’s going to artificially run up the score somewhat,” Carlisle confessed after the Bulls’ 47-point fourth quarter. “But I think the bottom line with this is they competed more consistently at a high level than we did tonight. We had some very good stretches, but you can’t get hit in the face to start the game and to start the fourth quarter the way we did and expect to cruise home with an eight-point lead to start the fourth. That 10-0 run was quick and right at us, and we didn’t respond well.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor and continue their four-game homestand on Sunday at American Airlines Center against the New York Knicks. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

Bulls

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
D. Valentine, SF 22 0-3 0-3 2-2 0 5 5 4 1 0 1 1 3 2
L. Markkanen, PF 31 6-9 3-5 1-1 1 8 9 1 1 1 1 0 3 16
R. Lopez, C 21 6-10 0-0 0-2 0 3 3 2 0 1 3 0 -3 12
J. Holiday, SG 37 5-7 5-6 8-8 0 3 3 0 0 0 1 4 -1 23
K. Dunn, PG 32 12-17 4-5 4-5 1 1 2 9 4 0 4 3 -2 32
D. Nwaba 21 6-9 0-0 1-3 1 1 2 0 0 0 3 4 -1 13
N. Mirotic 22 3-9 1-3 4-4 2 8 10 3 1 1 4 1 -2 11
J. Grant 15 1-6 1-5 5-6 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 5 8
B. Portis 19 4-6 0-0 0-0 3 2 5 4 2 0 1 1 8 8
P. Zipser 14 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 5 5 2
Q. Pondexter 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Arcidiacono 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A. Blakeney 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Felicio 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Z. LaVine 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
C. Payne 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   44-78 14-28 25-31 8 34 42 25 9 3 18 19   127
    56.4% 50.0%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Mavericks

All Stats

PLAYER MIN FG 3PT FT OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF +/- PTS
H. Barnes, SF 34 10-21 1-6 2-2 3 4 7 4 1 0 1 1 0 23
M. Kleber, PF 22 4-7 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 3 0 0 0 3 5 8
D. Nowitzki, C 23 8-11 3-3 0-0 0 3 3 2 1 0 0 4 -6 19
W. Matthews, SG 35 7-14 5-9 5-5 0 4 4 3 1 0 1 1 5 24
D. Smith Jr., PG 26 6-12 2-4 1-5 1 1 2 7 3 0 5 1 -4 15
S. Mejri 10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 0 1 2 1 0 4 0
Y. Ferrell 21 2-5 2-4 0-0 2 4 6 2 0 0 1 4 -1 6
J. Barea 22 4-10 1-3 2-2 0 2 2 9 1 0 1 3 -6 11
D. Harris 16 2-6 0-2 1-2 0 1 1 2 0 0 2 1 -3 5
D. Powell 27 6-6 0-0 1-1 0 2 2 1 3 0 1 6 -9 13
K. Collinsworth 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. McRoberts 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Curry 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Finney-Smith 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
J. Motley 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
N. Noel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   49-92 14-32 12-17 7 27 34 33 11 2 13 24   124
    53.3% 43.8%                      

Show Bench Hide Bench

Ferrell Rainbow Three

Yogi Ferrell launches a rainbow 3-pointer from the top of the key and buries it.


Barea Falling Assist

J. J. Barea falls to the floor but gets a bounce pass off to Dirk Nowitzki for the lay-in.


Kleber Swats Away Holiday Layup

Maxi Kleber hustles back in transition and swats away a layup from Justin Holiday.


Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle weighs in on tonight's matchup against the Bulls.


One-on-one with Yogi Ferrell

Earl K. Sneed goes one-on-one with Yogi Ferrell prior to tonight's game against Chicago.


Shootaround: J.J. Barea

Mavs G J.J. Barea looks ahead to tonight's game against Chicago.

DALLAS — If the Dallas Mavericks are going to successfully bounce back from Wednesday’s 125-122 narrow defeat at the hands of the defending champion Golden State Warriors and respond with a victory two nights later, stopping the Chicago Bulls’ skilled big men will go a long way Friday at American American Center.

Looking to stop the Bulls’ offensive attack, the Mavericks (13-26) will attempt to key in on big man Nikola Mirotic and rookie Lauri Markkanen. In the Bulls’ last five games, the 7-foot Markkanen is averaging 19.2 points and 7.6 rebounds an outing, shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 39.5 percent from three-point range. Meanwhile, the 26-year-old Mirotic is averaging 18.2 points and 6.2 boards per game during the same span, connecting on 47.1 percent from the field and 43.2 percent behind the arc. That said, the Dallas defense will be challenged by the two skilled big bodies Friday night. And according to coach Rick Carlisle, the Dallas defense will have to contain Mirotic and Markkanen if the Mavericks hope to move to 1-1 during their current four-game homestand.

“These guys make shots. They’re both shooting over 40 (percent from three-point range) in the last five games. They’re the two leading scorers in recent games, and both guys are underrated playmakers. Mirotic can put the ball on the floor, and Markkanen can kill you on switches,” Carlisle confssed. “[Markkanen] puts the ball on the floor well, and they play to the strengths of those guys. When you have stretch fours that have that kind of skill, that makes virtually everybody else on the floor better, because they have to be guarded at 30 feet. It opens up more space to operate for the other guys on the floor.”

Moving up to select Markkanen with the seventh overall pick in June’s draft after trading All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler to Minnesota, the Bulls (13-25) have seen the 20-year-old dazzle at times throughout his rookie campaign. That’s something Carlisle expected after the Mavs worked out the skilled 7-footer this summer during the pre-draft process. But with the former Arizona standout making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, Carlisle says Markkanen is even ahead of his pre-draft projections.

“Markkanen had as good a pre-draft workout, or I should say individual workout, as I’ve ever seen. He shot the ball phenomenally well,” Carlisle said. “I’ve never seen a guy be as efficient with shotmaking from both midrange and long range in a workout. The only other guy that shot it anywhere close was (Luke) Kennard, who went to Detroit. Both those guys are great shooters. He was high on our list, but we knew he was likely to go before us.

“He’s been terrific, really. You know, every projection that said he would be a really effective stretch four from the outside and be able to hurt people on switches from the inside was accurate. He’s probably ahead of what most people’s reasonable expectations for him were, and I’m really impressed.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor and continue their four-game homestand on Friday night at American Airlines Center against the Chicago Bulls. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out

DALLAS — Still feeling the sting of Wednesday’s heartbreaking 125-122 defeat at the hands of the defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks hope to quickly bounce back two nights later while continuing their current four-game homestand.

Falling after two-time MVP Stephen Curry’s game-winning three-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining, the Mavericks (13-26) saw their four-game win streak come to an abrupt end in disappointing fashion. The Mavs will now attempt to move forward with a win Friday night against the upstart Chicago Bulls. And after battling the defending champs for 48 minutes, the Mavericks will try to move on from Wednesday’s bitter defeat with a convincing victory in the second outing of their homestand.

“This is who we were supposed to be all along. You know, we don’t really have a moral victory here that we took the champs to a one-possession game. We felt in our hearts that we were supposed to win that one,” veteran swingman Wesley Matthews said after scoring 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 7 of 10 from three-point range during Wednesday’s loss. “Obviously, [the Warriors] are a great team and they’re the champs for a reason, but we’re not happy right now. You know, we’ve got another tough team coming in. Chicago is playing well, so we’ve got to learn from this one and be ready to go again.”

Despite seeing the Bulls (13-25) during the preseason and sprinting to a runaway 118-71 home win back on Oct. 4, the Mavericks know they’ll face a much different opponent Friday night at American Airlines Center.

Leading scorer Harrison Barnes’ 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting boosted the Mavericks to that exhibition win, clocking just 26 minutes of action. Rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. added 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, grabbing two rebounds, dishing three assists and collecting two steals to overshadow his four turnovers. All told, the Mavericks outshot the Bulls in that preseason matchup, 50 percent to 34.6 percent, adding a 49-39 rebounding advantage to overcome their 17 turnovers. However, with the Bulls charging back into the Eastern Conference playoff discussion after a strong month of December, the Mavs figure to have their hands full Friday night during a game that will actually count in the standings. And according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, the Dallas team certainly can’t afford to overlook the Chicago squad in spite of the Bulls’ current three-game losing streak.

“Well, since (Nikola) Mirotic has come back they’re 10-5. He’s one of the best plus-minus guys in the league during that period, and it’s really changed their team completely,” Carlisle explained. “They were playing well but losing a lot of close games up until that point, and he’s just given them more juice and more scoring. He’s a deceptive rebounder, and his efficiency is really there. He’s shooting mid-40s from three and (averaging) 18 points per game. And with him and (Lauri) Markkanen, you’ve got two of the best stretch fours in the game. I mean, they’re really, really good at what they do.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor and continue their four-game homestand on Friday night at American Airlines Center against the Chicago Bulls. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

Dorian Finney-Smith (left knee quadriceps tendinitis) — out
Seth Curry (stress reaction, left tibia) — out
Nerlens Noel (left thumb surgery) — out