Mavericks Defeat the Chicago Bulls, Win Streak Reaches Six

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic dribbles while surrounded by Chicago Bulls defenders. | Image from Dallas Mavericks Twitter

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Eastern Conference leaders, the Chicago Bulls, 113-99 in a battle of two of the hottest teams in the NBA. Dallas (22-18) has now won six consecutive games for the first time since 2016 and snapped Chicago’s NBA-best nine-game win streak.

It is also the second time in a week that the Mavericks have defeated a conference leader, after beating the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors 99-82 last Wednesday. Chicago (26-11) sought to win ten straight games for the first time since the franchise’s most recent championship-winning season in 1997-98.

Luka Doncic led all scorers with 22 points while completing a triple-double with 14 assists and 14 rebounds. It marked a return for Doncic from a one-game absence to rest a sprained ankle, but the Mavericks were still without head coach Jason Kidd for a second straight game and forward Kristaps Porzingis for a third consecutive game due to COVID-19. For Doncic, it was only the fourth game he has played in the team’s last 15 matches due to injuries and COVID-19.

Dallas was down by ten points in the first quarter but outscored Chicago by 23 points the rest of the way, including 30-18 in the last 11 minutes of the game. The Mavericks came back behind an efficient shooting night, making 44 of 88 (50%) of their shot attempts, including 16 of 36 (44.4%) from the three-point range. Meanwhile, the Bulls struggled shooting down the stretch, making just 4 of 18 (22.2%) three-point attempts in the second half.

“It’s amazing,” Doncic said. “I think the whole team is playing together. We’re playing great defense. I think the most important part is we’re just having fun out there.”

Including Chicago, Dallas has now held six of their last seven opponents under 100 points.

“We’re growing as a team, our chemistry on the court is a lot better. I think we’re just locked in right now,” guard Jalen Brunson said postgame.

“The coaching staff has put us in position to be successful. Guys have really bought in. It’s been a fun thing to be a part of, and I don’t think that we’re going to let this slip anytime soon,” Brunson continued; he scored 17 points and added four assists.

Maxi Kleber had a season-high 18 points, while Dallas’ second-year wing player Josh Green has been on a recent surge. After scoring a career-high 17 points in the team’s previous game, a 130-106 win over the Houston Rockets, Green immediately bested it, scoring 18 points by making 8 of 10 (80%) shot attempts.

“I think my whole mentality was just making sure I was ready this year when my name was called and bring the team what they need,” Green said of his recent career-best performances. “I feel that I was just able to find a groove and continue to build off that … just continue to grow as a player.”

“He’s a great player,” Doncic said of Green, “I think everybody can see it. And every opportunity he gets, he’s playing great. He’s playing great on both ends, and he deserves his minutes.”

The Mavericks opened the game by taking a quick 10-2 lead, but Chicago closed the first quarter on a 13-2 run to take a 32-22 lead. Dallas, however, would only allow the Bulls to score 67 points over the last three quarters.

Chicago still led by ten points with 1:18 left in the second quarter, but the Mavericks ended the half on a 9-0 run. Green made a three-pointer to start the run, then assisted on a three-pointer made by Dorian Finney-Smith.

After outscoring the Bulls by five in the third quarter, Doncic took over in the fourth. Doncic accounted for 22 of the Mavericks’ 30 fourth-quarter points, with five points from made shot attempts and six assists that led to 17 points.

Dallas will have a chance to extend their win streak to seven consecutive games in their next game on the road against the New York Knicks (19-21) on Wednesday. Dallas has not had a winning streak longer than six games since they won eight straight in the 2010-11 season.

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