The Dallas Mavericks prove that it’s not how you start but rather how you finish in come-from-behind win at United Center against the Chicago Bulls.
The Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls the day after Christmas less than a month ago. Future Hall of Fame power forward Dirk Nowitzki, just voted the third-best to ever play his position by ESPN, played a huge role in another win over the Bulls on Friday night.
The Mavs snapped a two-game losing skid against the second-seeded team in the Eastern Conference despite getting outplayed for much of the game while surrendering lots of rebounds and points in the paint.
No, it didn’t look so good for Dallas as only center Zaza Pachulia was able to put three points on the board over the first six minutes of play. Then again, with a score of 13-3 at that point, it wasn’t like Chicago was putting the Mavericks away.
Poor shooting and few points in the paint dogged the Mavericks early on. Dallas started off shooting 1-for-10 before finally getting some offense going late in the first period. The Mavs would trail 18-22 at the end of the first quarter before heading into the locker room behind by 10 at halftime.
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If the Dallas game plan was to save its best for last, they executed that to near perfection.
The Mavericks opened the second half with a 12-2 run that tied the score at 48-48 early in the third quarter.
The final period resembled the heartbreaking loss suffered at Cleveland against the Cavaliers on Tuesday. There were numerous lead changes that, in this game, might have been aided by the fact that Chicago had played into overtime on Thursday night against the 76ers in Philadelphia.
However, if the Bulls were expecting another 53-point performance from shooting guard Jimmy Butler, they were sadly disappointed by Friday night’s result.
Butler, guarded by Mavericks counterpart Wesley Matthews for much of the night, scored only four points, all coming in the second half. Meanwhile, Matthews had a modest eight points against his former college teammate from Marquette University.
Nowitzki’s late charge shooting the ball, which included a dagger of a 3-pointer just outside 2:00 left, was what the Mavericks had to have. That gorgeous shot over Taj Gibson put Dallas up by a score of 79-72 during a back-breaking 11-3 run for the Mavs down the stretch.
Point guard Deron Williams surged as well in scoring 18 points. The fourth quarter was big for Williams who, like Nowtizki, saved his biggest impact for when the game was on the line late.
Head coach Rick Carlisle should really consider a few more minutes for backup center JaVale McGee. For as good as Pachulia has played all season long with the Mavericks, McGee is getting healthy and is changing games more often than not these days. His alley-oops from teammates like Devin Harris and J.J. Barea are becoming unstoppable and it’s getting the Mavericks some greater space as the first wave of reserves enter the game.
McGee had a huge block of Bulls forward Doug McDermott in the second quarter. This kind of thing is expected from from a guy like McGee near the rim – but this particular block came near the top of the arc.
Yes, during this stretch of games and opponents that the Mavericks are facing in January, another win against a good, physical Bulls team was badly needed. While the offense might have been late getting started, the defense was as well in limiting Chicago to just 15 points in the third period and then 16 points in the fourth. When all was said and done, Dallas had a sweep of the Bulls for this year with a 83-77 win at United Center.
For the Mavericks there’s no rest for the weary. Dallas heads to San Antonio to take on the Spurs on Sunday in a 6pm CST tip-off. It’s back home to American Airlines Center on Monday to meet up with the Boston Celtics, tip-off at 7:30pm CST.
- Published on 01/16/2016 at 12:01 PM
- Last updated at 01/16/2016 at 04:56 AM