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The Mavericks take on the Bulls without Deron Williams and Devin Harris

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The well-rested but short-handed Mavericks host the Chicago Bulls on the second night of a back-to-back.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Mavericks play the Chicago Bulls for the first time this season. Dallas has had two days of rest, but they'll be missing Deron Williams and Devin Harris will be a game-time call. The Bulls (who played yesterday) will be without Joakim Noah. What can we expect?

What have the Bulls done lately?

The Bulls played the Thunder in OKC during one of the Christmas day games and surprised everyone (including the Thunder) with a win. Jimmy Butler and Pau Gasol both had more than 20 points (and Derek Rose chipped in 19), which helped topple the surprisingly sluggish Thunder.

This was a much-needed boost for the Bulls, who were coming off three straight losses, including a quadruple overtime game against the Pistons, and a week filled with trade rumors, Butler calling out the head coach, and an unfortunate Joakim Noah injury.

For a comprehensive state-of-the-Bulls, check out this piece from Zach Lowe.

Which team stat might determine the game?

This year's Bulls are a less balanced team than last year's, which featured the 10th best offense in the league and the 11th best defense. They're now the fourth worst offense in the league and tied for third best defense playing at a faster pace (seventh in the league compared to 20th last year).

It's lucky for the Mavericks that the Bulls are also playing short-handed and are on the second night of a road back-to-back because Chicago's top-notch defense could present a problem for the Mavericks, whose offense has been inconsistent this season.

How to watch?

The game is on Fox Sports Southwest if you're in the Dallas area, on WGN if you're in Chicago, and available via NBA League Pass everywhere else. Tip off is at 7:30PM Central.