Game 60: Mavs vs. Bulls

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Friday’s Dunk of the Night – Dalembert

Monta Ellis finds Samual Dalebert for the big finish.

DALLAS — Entering Friday night with wins in 10 of their previous 12 games, the Dallas Mavericks stepped onto their home court with plenty of momentum as the Chicago Bulls invaded American Airlines Center.

But, with the Bulls also on a roll with seven wins in their last eight contests, the Mavericks fully expected to have a hard time duplicating their 105-83 road win in Chicago back on Dec. 28. The Bulls (32-26) then proceeded to get their revenge, overcoming a 16-point deficit in the first half to send the Mavericks (36-24) to a 100-91 loss on their own floor.

“First-half leads mean nothing in this league,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said following the loss. “I’d rather not be up 16 to be quite honest with you in the first half. A 16-point lead in the first half means a couple of stops, a couple of threes and that lead is gone. And if you’re up 20 on them, it doesn’t really matter. They compete the same way and they continue grinding and grinding on both ends of the floor.”

Picking right back up after his 23 points and seven assists in the Wednesday’s 108-89 home win over New Orleans, starting shooting guard Monta Ellis looked to assert himself early. Ellis then found center Samuel Dalembert and forward Shawn Marion for big finishes at the rim as the Mavs tried to open the game up, staging a 16-2 run in the period to go up double digits.

And with sixth man Vince Carter providing an instant spark off the Dallas bench, the Mavs led by as many as 15 before taking a 32-20 advantage into the second stanza.

To keep his team from becoming stagnant in the second quarter, Nowitzki began to come alive while pushing the lead to 16. However, the Bulls responded with a 13-3 run of their own to remain in striking distance.

“We knew they were going to continue to play,” Ellis admitted. “We knew they were going to play hard.”

That’s when Carter again intervened, staging a rally behind his perimeter shooting before Ellis collected his 1,000th career steal and converted with a slam at the other end to put the Mavs up 51-38 with 4:08 left in the half. But again the Bulls would have an answer, swinging the momentum their way with a 13-2 run to creep within two before the Mavericks escaped into the home locker room with a 54-51 edge at the midway mark.

Outshooting the Bulls through two quarters, 48.7 percent to 46.2 percent, the Mavs found themselves with the slight advantage while scoring 10 points off Chicago’s nine first-half turnovers. The Mavs also held their own on the glass, losing the rebounding battle 21-20 but carrying a 16-2 margin in fast-break points into the intermission.

“I think we did a good job in the first half with their physicality, and in the second half we just didn’t make shots,” Carter foreshadowed.

With their team locked in a dogfight, the duo of Ellis and Nowitzki tried to take matters into their own hands as the third quarter got underway. Point guard Jose Calderon lent some assistance, stepping into his opportunities and shooting with confidence on the offensive end.

But the Bulls would take their first lead of the night at 73-72 with a relentless attack, before the Mavs rallied to grab a 76-73 edge heading into the final quarter.

Exchanging haymakers and the lead, the two teams would continue to go back and forth as the action picked up in the fourth period. However, a 3-pointer by D.J. Augustin would give the Bulls some traction, surging ahead 81-78 before center Joakim Noah ripped Nowitzki at the other end. Kirk Hinrich followed suit with a trey of his own, forcing a timeout by Mavs coach Rick Carlisle as his team fell into a six-point hole with 8:09 remaining.

The Mavs countered with a stronger defensive presence, stiffening on the other side of the ball to regain the lead at 85-84 after a Calderon three was followed by Ellis’ steal and slam with 5:07 remaining to hold on. Then Mike Dunleavy’s 3-pointer from the wing quickly swung the momentum once again in the Bulls’ favor. Jimmy Butler’s score with 3:09 left on the clock then forced another Carlisle timeout with the Mavs down 91-85, looking for a response down the stretch from his team.

But the Mavs’ offense would grow cold from there, unable to make shots in the final minutes. The Bulls then put the finishing touches on their win, getting a score from Noah to take a 96-87 lead with 42.6 seconds left to play before padding the final score at the foul line.

“I mean, they’re a good defensive team. You know, that’s how they win,” Nowitzki concluded with respect for the Bulls’ defense. “They’re smart, they’re long at every position and we weren’t shooting the ball particularly well tonight, obviously. They’re long in there and we didn’t really have a lot of stuff going to the basket, so if they take some of that basket stuff away for us to score we need to shoot the ball well from the outside. I don’t think anybody had it going well enough from the outside for us to make a little run. It’s still disappointing. We go up one on Monta’s layup and I just figured from there we’re going to find a way to win. But we didn’t and you’ve got to give them credit. They kept getting stops, they made some baskets … and they made it hard for us down the stretch and we just couldn’t score enough.”

Scoring 20 points on 7-of-19 shooting, Ellis led five Mavericks in double figures while also dishing out five assists. Nowitzki and Carter added 15 points apiece and Calderon pitched in 13 points at the point. Meanwhile, Marion finished with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting in the first unit.

Bulls big man Taj Gibson led five Chicago scorers in double figures with 20 points on 7-of-15 shooting off the bench, snatching down 15 rebounds to record a double-double. The Bulls also ended the night outshooting the Mavs, 50.7 percent to 40 percent, overcoming the 21 Dallas points off their 21 turnovers with a 46-37 rebounding advantage.

“We missed open shots and they came down and made shots,” Ellis matter-of-factly concluded. “We got nothing but good looks. We missed a lot of layups, a lot of shots at the free-throw line and missed a lot of wide-open ones. It just wasn’t going down for us.”

“Some nights teams miss shots,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said after his team shot just 40 percent, “and you have to hang in with grit, guts, defense and rebounding. Weird thing about it was we were in front most of the first half and we let them climb back into it with grit and guts and rebounding. Down the stretch we had some good opportunities and made some mistakes, too. Second chances were costly. They had 15 second-chance points and we had 10. … We couldn’t overcome the rebounding margin and the way we didn’t make shots when we needed to.”

Note: The Mavericks will now play their next two games on road, rekindling their Southwest Division rivalry with the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday. San Antonio leads the season series 2-0. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest and nationally on NBA TV at 6 p.m. CT.

The Mavs return to American Airlines Center next Friday night, hosting the Portland Trail Blazers. The season series is tied at 1-1 after both teams won on the other’s home floor. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting


All Stats

M. Dunleavy, F 41 5-10 4-7 2-2 1 7 8 4 2 0 1 2 10 16
C. Boozer, F 24 4-9 0-0 1-2 1 5 6 1 0 0 2 3 -12 9
J. Noah, C 36 4-8 0-0 2-3 0 9 9 4 2 1 5 5 14 10
J. Butler, G 44 6-13 1-4 6-11 1 6 7 3 1 1 0 0 -1 19
K. Hinrich, G 29 7-8 2-2 1-2 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 3 7 17
T. Gibson 31 7-15 0-0 6-7 5 10 15 1 1 0 4 1 18 20
D. Augustin 24 3-7 2-6 1-1 0 0 0 3 0 0 2 1 13 9
N. Mohammed 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 -2 0
T. Snell 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 -2 0
E. Murphy 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
D. Rose 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
T. Shengelia 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   36-71 9-19 19-28 9 37 46 19 6 2 20 19   100
    50.7% 47.4%                      

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All Stats

S. Marion, F 29 5-5 1-1 0-0 2 2 4 2 0 0 4 2 5 11
D. Nowitzki, F 34 7-18 1-5 0-0 2 3 5 2 0 1 3 2 -19 15
S. Dalembert, C 22 2-4 0-0 2-2 4 6 10 0 0 2 2 3 9 6
M. Ellis, G 39 7-19 2-6 4-8 0 4 4 5 3 1 1 3 -9 20
J. Calderon, G 32 5-12 3-7 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 1 3 13
V. Carter 26 5-14 4-8 1-2 3 4 7 1 3 1 1 3 4 15
D. Harris 15 0-3 0-1 2-2 0 1 1 4 0 0 2 2 -12 2
D. Blair 16 2-4 0-0 3-3 1 1 2 0 4 0 0 2 -12 7
W. Ellington 13 1-4 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 -8 2
B. Wright 8 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 -4 0
J. Crowder 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2 0
B. James 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
S. Larkin 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
R. Ledo 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
G. Mekel 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM   34-85 11-31 12-17 13 24 37 17 12 5 13 20   91
    40.0% 35.5%                      

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Bulls vs. Mavericks

Five Mavericks scored in double figures led by Monta Ellis' 20, but the team's four-game win streak came to an end Friday night.


Quick Hands

Monta Ellis picks off the pass from Mike Dunleavy and takes it for the uncontested throwdown in transition.


Pick ‘N Roll Flush

Off the pick and roll Monta Ellis throws the lob to Samuel Dalembert who rises and flushes it home.


Transition Offense

Monta Ellis makes the long outlet to Shawn Marion who slashes in and throws it down.


Practice Report: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle comments on Wayne Ellington's contributions to the team, his ability to stay ready, Friday night's matchup against the Bulls and more.


Practice Report: Shawn Marion

Mavs F Shawn Marion talks about the team's recent success, continuing to play together as a team and leaving it all out on the floor.

DALLAS — Despite routing the Chicago Bulls on their own floor back in December, the Dallas Mavericks admittedly expect to find themselves in a dogfight Friday night.

Leading by as many as 32 en route to a dominant 105-83 road win on Dec. 28 in Chicago, the Mavericks (36-23) easily sprinted past the perennial Eastern Conference power. However, with the Bulls (31-26) now looking for their eighth win in nine games, the Mavs know they’ll face a far more daunting task while trying to extend their own winning streak to five straight.

“I mean, they’re playing a lot better now and the team is a little different,” reserve guard Devin Harris confessed. “It’s possible the way we’ve been playing, but obviously we have a task ahead of us.”

The Mavericks had little trouble with the Bulls the first time around, shooting 52.6 percent from the field as a team and holding Chicago to 43.2 percent on the defensive end. The Mavs also finished the night with a 39-34 rebounding edge against the league’s No. 7 team in that department.

Dallas will now try to duplicate that performance, looking to again match and exceed the Bulls’ level of physicality.

“You know, that’s past history. This is a different game and different situation,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said while putting that dominant December performance behind his team. “We’ve got to do a lot of the same things well, knowing that they’re going to make some adjustments, and we’re going to have to be ready for anything. They could change some defensive coverages. They’re going to shoot the ball better than that night, and we’ve just got to be real tied together and real tough.

“They’ve been playing well,” the coach echoed. “And since they traded [Luol] Deng they’ve realized the team that they have is the team they have and they’re getting more and more together as a group. You know, they don’t turn it over much, they rebound the heck out of it and they’re a good 3-point shooting team. And if you turn them loose on threes, they win. That’s how they’ve been in recent games. It’s a physical game, it’s a mental and physical grind that we’ve got to be ready to take on and it’s a playoff-type game.”

Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center Friday night, hosting the Chicago Bulls. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 105-83 road win back on Dec. 28. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting

DALLAS — Winning 10 of their last 12 games and four straight overall, the Dallas Mavericks will undoubtedly take plenty of momentum into Friday night’s home matchup against the Chicago Bulls.

Hoping not to get caught looking ahead to Sunday’s showdown with the Southwest Division-leading Spurs in San Antonio, the Mavericks (36-23) will attempt to duplicate a dominant 105-83 win back on Dec. 28 in Chicago. The Mavs will also try to continue surging in the Western Conference standings, sitting in the sixth spot after their recent success.

“I think we are coming along at the right time,” starting shooting guard Monta Ellis said after leading the Mavs to a 108-89 home win over New Orleans Wednesday night with 23 points and seven assists.

He added: “I think everybody is tuned in and accepting their role of what they need to do to help us win. The biggest thing is that everyone is playing together. … I think the last 12 games we’ve been playing together as a team. And when we play like that, share the ball and everybody does their job at both ends, we come out with a win.”

However, the Mavs will face an equally hot team as the Bulls (31-26) come to town looking for an eighth victory in nine games. And with the Chicago team hoping to avenge their previous loss to the Mavericks back in December, sparks figure to fly Friday night at American Airlines Center.

Outshooting the Bulls in the first meeting, 52.6 percent to 43.2 percent, the Mavericks jumped out to a lead of as many as 32. Perhaps more importantly, the Mavs also held their own in the rebounding department, finishing the night with a 39-34 edge on the glass. And it’s that kind of physical play the Mavericks hope will carry them to a fifth straight victory.

“Well, we played a good game,” 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki said while looking back to that December matchup in Chicago. “I thought we helped each other pretty well that game. We were ready for a physical style and we rebounded with them, and that’s a big key against that team. But they’re playing well now. I’ve got the most respect for that team. I watched them last year. No [Luol] Deng, no [Derrick] Rose, and they go into Brooklyn and win Game 7. Coach [Tom Thibodeau] has the boys playing hard and physical every night, so we’ve got to be ready for a dogfight and we’ve got to be ready for a physical kind of game. We know they push a lot and grab a lot. We’ve got to be ready for it and expect it and hopefully match it, and then I think we should be in good shape.”

Note: The Mavericks return to action at American Airlines Center Friday night, hosting the Chicago Bulls. Dallas leads the season series 1-0 after a 105-83 road win back on Dec. 28. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting