Tuesday night's loss to the Mavericks was one of the worst of the season--if not the worst. The entire affair was brutal. There were some good moments and Chicago had a chance to win, but there's inexcusable to get swept by an inferior Mavericks team. The Bulls continue to be inconsistent, but what else is new. Let's get to some details.
Happy Birthday Dwyane Wade! The Bulls guard turned 35 on Tuesday, unfortunately for him, he didn't get a win for his birthday. The whole game was a struggle for him as he went 8-for-21 from the field, and also had 4 turnovers. It wasn't Wade's night, but hopefully he still had a good birthday. Taj Gibson is dealing with some ankle soreness, which prohibited him from participating in Tuesday night's game.
The last time these two teams faced off, the Bulls got embarrassed in Dallas. This time, Jimmy Butler and company were hoping to turn the tables on their Western Conference opponent. Chicago jumped out of the gates quickly, and it looked like they were in control early on. Michael Carter-Williams started the game 2-of-2 from behind the arc, and as a team the Bulls started 4-of-4. Consistent three-point shooting from MCW is extremely rare, and he couldn't keep up the scoring pace, ending with 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 assist. After the initial outburst, the Bulls led 28-24 lead after one frame.
Dirk Nowitzki is always someone that you have to pay attention to, and Tuesday night could have been the last time the German faced off with Chicago. In the second quarter Dirk and the Mavs outscored the Bulls 30-to-19. Chicago's bench--led by former Mavericks Rajon Rondo, got cold and Dallas was able to go on a run. Dirk was able to record his first double-double of the season, and the Mavs were up heading into halftime.
Chicago started off the third quarter very poorly. In the opening 4:30 of the third they only scored 2 field goals, and turned the ball over three times. This game quickly turned into a classic, "Jimmy's going to have to bail us out" game. Butler scored 10 points, grabbed 8 boards, and had 8 assists in the third. The only other Bull to show signs of life in this one was Robin Lopez. Lopez finished with a season high 21 points, shooting 10-of-15 from the field. Im sure Robin's cat Prince Edward Zephyr was very proud of his performance.
The final frame was actually very entertaining. The game went down to the wire, and each team traded baskets. At one point in the closing minute, Butler was able to create enough separation and bury a shot. Unfortunately, Nikola Mirotic--who returned from a brief absence Tuesday, was beat off the dribble, setting up a wide-open look for former Marquette Golden Eagle Wesley Matthews. That shot would decide the game as Dallas was able to close it out 99-98.
The story continues to be the same. Butler is a huge bright spot, but everyone else is a question mark. The Bulls have a few days off before heading to Atlanta on Friday to take on the Hawks.
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