Following an overtime loss to the Thunder on Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks look to bounce back against the Bulls.
After a corner three-pointer from Dennis Smith Jr. fell short at the buzzer against OKC on Wednesday, the Dallas Mavericks headed north to rebound against the young Bulls.
Though in a loss, DSJ took over the game in the free period as he scored eight of the 10 points for Dallas in overtime in the loss to the Thunder. Smith Jr. was visibly upset in the tunnel following missing the game-winning shot, giving the inclination that the rook will be fired up to avenge himself and the team in tonight’s game in Chicago.
For both the Mavs and Bulls, they’ve seemed to be stumbling down the same path throughout the season; that path is headed towards the NBA Draft Lottery. Currently, the Mavericks (19-43) find themselves in a three-way tie for the league’s fourth worst record. The Bulls (20-41) sit with the eighth worst record in the NBA.
In the first matchup between the two teams in January, the Bulls won a nail-biter at the American Airlines Center. Kris Dunn put up 32 points and nine assists in that matchup, who will remain a focal point for the Mavs defense to slow down. Zach LaVine, who had yet to return from his injury in the January 5th matchup, has averaged 17.7 points per game in his 17 games played and will be manned by Wesley Matthews in tonight’s game.
What will be interesting to see for the Mavericks will be Noel’s minutes in his second game back from his thumb injury. On Wednesday, Nerlens charted four points, three rebounds, and one block in 15 minutes of play off the bench. Noel will have to fight off Dwight Powell for minutes as Powell’s play as of late has been the best stretch of his career. In 10 games in February, Powell averaged 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game with seven starts.
With Nikola Mirotic being moved to the Pelicans and Robin Lopez finding himself losing minutes to the continued youth movement, expect a lot of Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio upfront alongside rookie Lauri Markkanen, whose shooting has cooled off a bit in February.
Tip-off is at 7:00pm at the United Center in Chicago.