After having their four-game win streak snapped by the Golden State Warriors, the Dallas Mavericks look to rebound Friday as they host the scrappy Chicago Bulls.
The Dallas Mavericks (13-26) take on the Chicago Bulls (13-25) Friday at American Airlines Center. Game time is 8:30 p.m. ET.
The Mavericks entered 2018 boasting a league-best four-game win streak then a stacked Golden State Warriors team came to town Wednesday. However, it took a last-minute three-point dagger by Steph Curry to defeat the overachiever Mavs 125-122.
Tonight, the Mavericks welcome the Chicago Bulls in hopes of returning to their winning ways. Despite their record, Chicago is not an easy out for Dallas. As a matter of fact, this contest has all the ingredients of a trap game.
The Mavericks are a totally different team when facing mediocre competition. At 3-9, Dallas struggles to take advantage of games against teams with losing records. That fact coupled with the improved play of Chicago should be a concern.
Led by Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen, Chicago is finding its own way of exceeding expectations this season. In fact, there was a stretch in December in which they ripped off seven-straight wins — including a victory against the revamped Boston Celtics.
This will be the first time rookie-standouts Dennis Smith Jr. and Markkanen face-off. Both first-year players have performed exceedingly well, reassuring their respective teams that they made the right decision on draft night last June.
Smith Jr. is averaging 13.8 points per game to go along with 4.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds. Meanwhile, Markkanen is putting up 14.9 points per contest while grabbing 7.6 boards.
As impressive as they both have been, they each have their unique way of producing. Smith Jr. is a high-flying, energetic guard that plays with the poise of a veteran. Markkanen is a sharpshooting big man with a touch of finesse.
Look for these rookies to bring their A-game tonight as both teams try to climb from the bottom of their respective conferences. As always, go Mavs!