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.
Nowitzki has scored at least 20 points in six straight games.
The Bulls are 0-6 when allowing 100 or more points, while the
Mavericks have hit triple digits in 21 of 29 games.
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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