Saturday, December 28, 2013
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Preview: Mavericks at Bulls

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[December 28, 2013]  The Chicago Bulls have won consecutive games for the first time since losing star guard Derrick Rose to another knee injury, and they'll try to make it three straight when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday. Injuries continue to plague Chicago, though, as leading scorer Luol Deng (Achilles) has missed the last three games and he and center Joakim Noah (hip) are considered questionable against Dallas. The Mavericks have lost three of their last four, including a 116-107 loss to San Antonio on Thursday.

The matchup is one of nearly polar opposites  the physical, grinding Bulls against the fast-paced, finesse Mavericks. "Every game you play is going to present different challenges," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. "You've got to be enthusiastic about taking them on." Dallas has struggled to a 4-9 road mark and has lost three straight in Chicago. The Bulls are 7-5 at home but are 1-7 against Western Conference opponents.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), CSN Chicago

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (16-13): Dallas can score with anyone, and it will need its high-scoring duo of Dirk Nowitzki (21.5 points, six rebounds) and Monta Ellis (20.7 points, 5.8 assists) to have a strong game. Point guard Jose Calderon also needs to continue his solid play, as he has scored in double digits in 19 of his last 21 games and is averaging 13.1 points and 4.3 assists over that span. Brandan Wright (illness) sat out against the Spurs and is day-to-day; he has averaged 12.2 points and 4.6 rebounds in five games since returning from a fractured left shoulder.


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ABOUT THE BULLS (11-16): Chicago has eight players averaging double-digit scoring, but that list includes Rose and two others  Deng (19.6 points) and Jimmy Butler (11.3)  who have missed significant time. The Bulls can hardly afford to be without Noah, who has seven double-doubles in 11 games this month and is averaging 13.1 points and 11.9 rebounds during that span. Point guard D.J. Augustin has been a stabilizing factor since signing with the Bulls on Dec. 13, averaging 10.6 points and 6.3 assists in seven games.

BUZZER-BEATERS

  1. Nowitzki has scored at least 20 points in six straight games.

  2. The Bulls are 0-6 when allowing 100 or more points, while the Mavericks have hit triple digits in 21 of 29 games.

  3. Dallas has recorded at least 10 steals in five straight games and has nine or more in its last eight contests.

PREDICTION: Bulls 96, Mavericks 93

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