The Dallas Mavericks survived a late rally from the Chicago Bulls Monday night, escaping with a 103-98 victory. Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 23 points, five rebounds, and four steals. Zach LaVine was the high point man for Chicago in defeat, scoring 26 points but needing 23 shots to get there.
Dallas got off to their usual slow start but the Chicago Bulls were fairly sluggish themselves. With the Maverick starters unable to seperate themselves from Chicago the Dallas bench came to the rescue for the second straight game. The Mavericks led after one, 25-20.
The second frame saw the bench unit push the lead to double digits repeatedly, leading by 14 points on two different occasions. The Maverick starters let the Bulls back into it rather quickly, allowing the Bulls to rally back within one point between the 5:30 and 2:30 mark of the quarter. Something finally woke the Mavericks up and they finished the half with scoring flush and taking a 56-49 lead into the locker room.
Though the Bulls made things interesting in the third quarter, the Mavericks played just well enough to hold them off in the second half. Chicago made numerous attempts to close the gap and take the lead in the period, Dallas took a 78-75 lead into the last quarter.
The Mavericks played rope-a-dope for much of the final quarter as well. Dallas led by as many as eight during the frame with the Bulls attempting a late rally in the final three minutes. Chicago twice got as close as four before Harrison Barnes free throws put the final touches on the score. Dallas leaves Chicago with their first road win, 103-98.
The starters are a mess right now
That the Mavericks won a game with all five of their starting line-ups posting a negative plus-minus is incredible. It’s hard to know where to start with the bunch, but it’s safe to say something’s just not clicking. Against the Bulls no one starter, save perhaps Harrison Barnes who forced his way to the line, played a very convincing game. The group has to figure something out or the coaching staff needs to really mix things up. Bad starts have become too frequent.
Luka Doncic had a very bad game
The Bulls played pretty good defense on Doncic, but he really settled for jumpers off the bounce and didn’t seem to find any space for his usual floater game. His teammates didn’t connect on a number of easy looks, but that’s going to happen. He’s got to find a way to get to the rim on night’s like tonight.
Yet the guy still had 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
J.J. Barea, key to victory?
After the Mavericks lost a brutal game in overtime to the Spurs a weeks ago, J.J. Barea has been on an absolute tear. He’s posted a +73 over the last six Maverick games.
I know folks out there can get worn out by his tunnel vision and horrendous defense, but if there’s a single reason the Mavericks are on a two game win streak, it’s Barea. He’s been outstanding.