THIRD QUARTER COLLAPSE: There’s no way to sugarcoat the significance of what happened to the Mavs in the third quarter. The Mavs outscored the Bulls in the first and fourth quarters, and the two teams fought to a 29-29 stalemate in the second quarter. However, in the third quarter the Bulls outscored the Mavs, 33-17, and turned a 58-48 halftime deficit into an 81-75 lead entering the fourth quarter. Just in the third quarter, Chicago was 13-of-18 from the field for 72.2 percent, while the Mavs were a mere 6-of-18 from the floor for 33.3 percent and turned the ball over seven times.

DONCIC WAS BACK AT IT: Luka Doncic returned to action following a one-game absence to deal with his sprained left thumb. Doncic finished with 23 points, five rebounds and nine assists in a game-high 38 minutes. The second-year point guard was 8-of-20 from the field and 1-of-8 from downtown, and all four of his turnovers came in the first half. “He appears to be making progress with the way the thumb is feeling,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “Resting the thumb (Sunday against Minnesota) was the right thing to do.”

MANPOWER SHORTAGE: With four of their normal rotation players out, the Mavericks clearly were suffering from a manpower shortage. Especially since they not only were playing the second night of a back-to-back, they also were playing the final game of a week-long four-game road trip, when things can get a bit haphazard because players are somewhat fatigued and eager for the flight home. Courtney Lee, who made his fifth start of the season, said: “This is what we signed up for, this is what we do. We just got to go out there and finish the game, play throughout the whole 48 minutes and try to get the win.” Still, playing without Kristaps Porzingis, Seth Curry and Jalen Brunson — plus the out-for-the-season Dwight Powell — seriously hampered the Mavs.

BOBAN HAD AN IMPACT: Boban Marjanovic made an immediate impact as soon as he got into Monday’s game. Playing many of the minutes that normally go to Kristaps Porzingis, Marjanovic had four points and five rebounds in four first-quarter minutes. By halftime, he had already manufactured eight points and 10 rebounds in only 12 minutes. And for the game, Marjanovic finished with 14 points on 7-of-11 shots and added 12 rebounds in 22 minutes. “He was great,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you look at his stats he was a significant plus in the game. This was the kind of game we felt he could play in because of the tempo. Big credit to him for staying ready and really performing well.”

FINNEY-SMITH AND THE COMEBACK: Dorian Finney-Smith was right in the middle of that gallant comeback attempt the Mavs made. The Mavs trailed the Bulls, 107-99, with just 25.6 seconds left. Then, lightning struck. First, Maxi Kleber stole an ill-advised inbounds pass and dunked it. Then, Delon Wright stole another inbounds pass and fired it to Finney-Smith, who calmly popped in a 3-pointer to get the Mavs within 107-104 with 15.3 seconds to go. After Chicago’s Thaddeus Young split a pair of free throws, Finney-Smith poured in yet another 3-pointer and the Mavs were within 108-107 with 4.9 seconds remaining. But the Bulls held on for the win after Luka Doncic’s desperation halfcourt shot at the buzzer barely missed its mark.

Twitter: @DwainPrice

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