After the late start and loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, the Mavericks are off to Chicago for a 7 pm game. That’s less than 24 hours for the team to get to Chicago, get its bearings, and get ready to play another game. A pretty brutal bit of scheduling.
Nevertheless, it’s doubtful Chicago will have much sympathy. If Dallas can dig deep and pull off a win, it would be a gold star in their mission to keep their heads above .500 and stay in the middle of a messy, tighter-than-ever Western conference.
Iso ball is back
Fans of 2000’s iso ball will want to tune in for this one. The Mavericks and Bulls are the league's number one and two teams when it comes to the frequency of isolation possessions. It’s not the most popular style of basketball these days, but it’s hard to argue with results. Chicago scores on 49.3 percent of iso possessions, and Dallas converts at 48.3 percent. Good for second and fourth in the league, respectively. It’s to be expected by teams being helmed by Luka Doncic and DeMar Derozan.
The Bulls, this far through the season, have the look of a fairly mediocre team. Not that that means much for the Mavs chances of winning — lord knows they’ve struggled with lesser teams. That said, Chicago doesn’t lack talented players. If anything, their problem is consistency.
In games they’ve won, Chicago is shooting over 41 percent from three. In losses, that number drops to just 31 percent. Dallas needs to do what it can to shake out its tired legs from a late game against Milwaukee and come out with energy to prevent Chicago from getting into a shooting rhythm early.
Need a hero
With Tim Hardaway Jr’s 2-of-7 shooting night behind the arc against Milwaukee signaling the end of his historic hot streak, Dallas will be looking for someone else to pick up some of the scoring slack.
Spencer Dinwiddie started the season hot, but cooled as Hardaway surged. Bullock is nearing the end of his early season hibernation and is due for a big game. Heck, maybe Josh Green and his youthful legs can carry the load on this back-to-back. His play recently has fans asking for more minutes for the young wing, and his 23-point, 6/7 from deep night against Denver back in November shows he can get hot. It’s not out of the question that Hardaway himself shakes off a bad night and gets the hot hand again.
How to watch
You can broadcast or stream the game on Bally Sports at 7:00 CST.