(Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel – Getty Images)
Game 42: Chicago Bulls (21-22) lose to Dallas Mavericks (14-27), 99-98
Jan. 17, 2017
United Center – Chicago
With a 7-0 run to open the game, the Bulls appeared to be setting the tone for another win. But the Mavericks found their offense soon after that. Soon enough, with a Seth Curry-to-Salah Mejri layup, Dallas was on top, 18-17. But its lead was short lived. Robin Lopez made an 18-foot jumper, and Doug McDermott followed with a 3-pointer to put Chicago up 22-18.
By the end of the first quarter, the Bulls maintained their lead, 24-20.
But the Mavericks came out strong in the second quarter and ended up having their best quarter of the night. Dallas scored the lone 30-point quarter and limited Chicago to 19 second-quarter points. This resulted in the Bulls trailing 54-47 at halftime.
The Mavericks used their momentum heading into the third quarter, going on a 6-4 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game. But shortly afterwards, the roles reversed. The Bulls went on a 9-4 run to erase the double-digit deficit. Robin Lopez got going toward the end of the quarter to make sure their deficit didn’t revert back to double figures; he scored six points within the last three minutes of the period, helping Chicago to just a two-point deficit at the end of the quarter.
The score remained close throughout the remainder of the game. A layup from Cristiano Felicio to open the fourth quarter tied the game at 76, but the lead changed hands several times afterwards. It wasn’t until McDermott cut to the basket, received a pass from Jimmy Butler, and connected on a bucket with 59 seconds left that the game was tied again: this time at 96.
McDermott’s shot forced a Dallas timeout, but it couldn’t get a shot of its own coming out of it. Instead, after a miss from Harrison Barnes, Butler buried a long left-wing jumper to give Chicago the 98-96 lead. Wesley Matthews, however, didn’t let the lead live long, as he knocked down a 3-pointer to give Dallas the 99-98 lead.
Matthews would go on to defend Butler on the last possession of the game and did well at it. Butler struggled to get anything out of it and ended up giving the ball up to birthday boy Dywane Wade in the left corner. Wade tried a 21-foot jumper before the buzzer, but it came up short.
Player of the Game
The Bulls may not have gotten the win, but Robin Lopez had his best game in a Bulls uniform.
In 36 minutes, Lopez had 21 points on 10-of-15 shooting and added five rebounds and a steal. His 21 points are a season-high and were second-best on the team. At halftime, Lopez had already scored most of his points, posting 14 points on 7-for-9 from the field. With Taj Gibson out, he did a good job of filling that void.
Jimmy Butler was his usual self, leading the Bulls. In doing so, this time, he nearly contributed a triple-double: 24 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists and a steal. During his 40 minutes of playing time, he shot 5-for-12 overall and got to the charity stripe 16 times, only missing two free throws.
Dallas’ bench outplayed Chicago’s second unit, outscoring them 29-21. The Mavericks only played five of their second unit, and only one of them failed to score. Meanwhile, the Bulls played six of their bench players: None of them scored in double figures — though Felicio weren’t far off — and three of them failed to score. Granted, Jerian Grant and Bobby Portis only played four and seven minutes, respectively, but Rondo was 0-for-4 in 23 minutes.
The Mavericks’ 3-point shooting ability served them well Tuesday night. Dallas made almost twice as many threes as Chicago did at 11-6. The Bulls were more accurate from downtown, shooting 42.9 percent to the Mavericks’ 39.3 percent, but it didn’t matter.
The Bulls did well when at the free throw line, making 18 of their 22 attempts; however, an overwhelming amount of the free throws came from one player in particular: Jimmy Butler. Butler had 16 attempts and made 14 of them. The other ones came from Cristiano Felicio, Robin Lopez and Dwyane Wade. But Chicago could have used more than just Butler being aggressive and getting the calls.
Taj Gibson sat out with a sore left ankle.
Hoiberg optimistic this is one-game deal for Gibson.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 17, 2017
Gibson had left ankle surgically repaired in June 2015. Hoiberg said it's unlikely Gibson will need an MRI. Called sitting "precautionary."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 17, 2017
The Bulls are back in action Friday night to take on the Atlanta Hawks.
Ashley is the owner/editor of The Bulls Charge. Follow her on Twitter at @wijangco12.