The Mavs played without Kyrie Irving (right foot injury recovery), Tim Hardaway Jr. (left ankle soreness), Josh Green (rest), Maxi Kleber (right hamstring injury recovery) and Christian Wood (rest). Also, point guard Doncic started the game and only played the first 12:35 of the game before leaving for good while finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.
However, despite being short-handed, the Mavs jumped out to a 43-28 lead with 8:38 remaining in the first half after JaVale McGee drained a two-pointer and a three-pointer, and Markieff Morris poured in a jumper from the corner. Dallas was still ahead at intermission, 67-54, when rookie Jaden Hardy drilled a halfcourt shot just before the halftime buzzer sounded.
But the Bulls made a strong push in the second half and upended the Mavs in the end.
“The guys in that locker room, they were pros,” coach Jason Kidd said. “They came out and did their job. Everyone played, and we played our young guys a lot tonight.
Guard Theo Pinson, who finished with eight points and six rebounds in a season-high 31 minutes, said: “We’re playing for jobs just like everybody else.
“We wanted to play well. I think we did in spurts. We just had a little lull in the fourth quarter, but it’s cool.”
Here are the three takeaways from the three-point loss to the Bulls.
MORRIS WAS NEARLY PERFECT: Markieff Morris made the most of his playing time. In eight energetic minutes off the bench, the 12-year veteran forward scored a team-high tying 13 points and was a solid 5-of-6 from the field. He also was 3-of-4 from beyond the three-point arc. The 83.3 percent shooting from the field is the highest of the season for Morris when he’s attempted at least five shots. In addition, all 13 of Morris’ points came in the second quarter in rapid-like fashion. That’s the most points he’s scored in any quarter since – as a member of the Detroit Pistons – he tossed in 15 points in the second quarter of a road game against the Boston Celtics on Jan. 15, 2020.
LAWSON ON TARGET: Friday was career night for A.J. Lawson. The rookie guard from South Carolina scored a career-high 12 points and also grabbed a career-high six rebounds. Lawson converted a career-high five field goals in a career-high nine field goal attempts and was a bright shining star on a night when the Mavs dripped to 38-43 on the season. He also contributed a crowd-pleasing moment when he raced inside and — following a three-point miss by Davis Bertans — hammered the basketball home for a vicious put-back dunk. Lawson’s previous career highs were the 10 points he scored in Denver on Feb. 15, and the three rebounds he collected at Golden State on Feb. 4.
THE WRIGHT STUFF: In playing a career-high 24 minutes against the Bulls, McKinley Wright IV sure proved that had the right stuff on a night when the Mavs came very close to pulling out a victory. The rookie guard from Colorado came off the bench and poured in a career-high 13 points, and was 6-of-14 from the field. Wright’s previous career-high point production was 11, which he scored on Feb. 15 in Denver and again on March 15 in San Antonio.