CHICAGO – From a practical standpoint, no one have to tell the Dallas Mavericks that they let Friday’s home game
against the powerful Milwaukee Bucks completely slip away.
In all against the Bucks, the Mavs were just 10-of-24 from the free throw line, including eight misses in the pivotal fourth quarter. That alone was at the forefront during the postseason discussions following the 106-105 loss to the Bucks.
“If you’re shooting 42% (from the free throw line) that’s not very good,” coach Jason Kidd said. “In a one-point ballgame, the small things matter. I think in the fourth we were 7-for-15.
“So, we’re getting to the line, especially there late. We’ve got to step up. We do practice free throws all the time and it’s a part of the game. It’s just unfortunate we didn’t make them at the right time.”
With that unfortunate loss heavy on their minds, the Mavs hopped on a plane and flew to Chicago, where in less than 24 hours after playing the Bucks, they have to do battle with the Bulls. It’s a definite quirk in the schedule that has the Mavs will two tipoffs – the Mavs-Bucks’ game started at 9 p.m. — less than 24 hours apart.
“The locker room is kind of tough right now because we had the game,” point guard Luka Doncic said. “It’s not the first time and it’s not the last time, for sure. We just keep trusting.
“I think we are playing amazing basketball. We had a win in our pockets basically, against a team like the Bucks, which is one of the best teams in the league. We’ve just got to keep trusting it.”
The anemic 41.7 percent the Mavs shot from the free throw line against the Bucks is the fourth-worst shooting percentage from the charity stripe for any team in the NBA this season.
*The Mavs had their three-game winning streak snapped by the Bucks. The Mavs are just 3-8 on the road this season. Two of those wins have come in New York – against the Nets (129-125 in overtime) and Knicks (121-100). The other road win came this past Wednesday in Denver (116-115).
*Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan is averaging 25.5 ppg and shooting a healthy 50.3 percent from the field. But in 30 career games against the Mavs, he’s averaging just 20.7 ppg and shooting only 47.8 percent from the floor.
*The career averages against the Mavs are also lower for Bulls guard Zack Levine. This season Levine is averaging 22.2 ppg and converting 36.2 percent of his three-pointers. However, in 26 career games against the Mavs he’s averaging just 14.7 ppg and making only 27.4 percent of his three-pointers.
*Some 50 people from Australia attended Friday’s game at American Airlines Center between the Mavs and Bucks. The group includes former Mavs center Chris Anstey, who played for the Mavs from 1997-’99. The group came to see Mavs guard Josh Green, who is from Australia. Green met with the group prior to the game.
*The Bulls shot at least 80 percent from the free throw line in 12 consecutive games from Oct. 21-Nov. 13. That’s the longest stretch of its kind in franchise history.
*The Mavs and Bulls split their two games last season, with the home team winning each game. The Bulls beat the Mavs in Chicago, 117-107, on Nov. 10, 2021. The Mavs returned the favor and tripped the Bulls in Dallas, 113-99, on Jan. 9 behind a triple-double (22 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists) from Luka Doncic.
*The Mavs are 2-3 on the second leg of a back-to-back this season.
DALLAS MAVERICKS (13-12) at CHICAGO BULLS (10-14)
When: 7 p.m., Saturday
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: Bally Sports Southwest
Radio: 97.1 FM The Freak; 99.1 FM Zona MX (Spanish)