Bulls, Mavs both look to get back on track
(Sports Network) - After failing to hold a 27-point lead last time out, the Chicago Bulls hope to take advantage of a Dallas Mavericks squad that is playing the second of back-to-back games on Wednesday night.
The Bulls have had some time to digest a 93-92 setback versus Milwaukee on Monday, their first loss in their last 10 games versus the Bucks. That defeat came despite Chicago holding a 78-51 advantage with 2:50 remaining in the third quarter.
Richard Hamilton poured in 30 points, a season high, and Carlos Boozer had 19 along with 11 rebounds for the Bulls, but Chicago shot a woeful 21.1 percent (4-for-19) in the fourth quarter to squander the sizeable lead.
"I'm stunned just by the simple fact that when you have a 25-point lead and the way that we defend, you never expect a team to make a run like that," said Hamilton.
Chicago has now lost four of its last five, including the opener of a four- game homestand, despite excellent play as of late from Boozer. The forward is averaging 18.0 points and 12.3 rebounds per game over his last six, with five double-doubles in that span.
Boozer is averaging 17.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 18 career meetings with the Mavericks.
Chicago will look to push Dallas tonight after the Mavericks tried to rally late in a meeting on Tuesday with the Philadelphia 76ers. However, the comeback attempt fell short in a 100-98 setback.
With the game tied at 81-81, the Sixers reeled off 10 straight points to seize control. Dallas did cut the deficit to two, but O.J. Mayo missed a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds to play and Jae Crowder's desperation shot following a rebound was off the mark as time expired.
"That was the game," said Mavs coach Rick Carlisle of the Sixers' run. "To say the least, it was completely out of character the way we played."
Chris Kaman put up 20 points and Shawn Marion finished with a season-high 17 in the loss, Dallas' second straight and seventh in its last 10 outings. Mayo was held to a season-low 11 points and Darren Collison notched 12 points, six assists, three rebounds and a career-high five steals while coming off the bench for the first time this season.
"We're all disappointed but not dismayed," said Carlisle. "It was unfortunate. I'm steadfast in my belief in these guys."
Dallas' Elton Brand will face a former team for the second consecutive night. After putting home a season-high 17 points against the 76ers, who released the veteran forward via the amnesty clause in July, Brand will face a Bulls franchise that selected him with the top overall pick of the 1999 draft.
He averaged 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds in 155 games over two seasons with the Bulls before getting traded to the Los Angeles Clippers on June 27, 2001 for Tyson Chandler and Brian Skinner.
The Mavericks have lost their last three games versus the Bulls, including a 93-83 setback in Chicago in the lone meeting a season ago, and haven't scored more than 83 points in any of those meetings.
Dallas has had more long-term success in this series, winning 21 of the past 27 meetings overall and nine of the last 13 in Chicago, where it tries to avoid a third straight setback.
11/28 10:48:35 ET