The Dallas Mavericks return home Sunday for a matinee showdown with the Chicago Bulls after going 1-1 on their two-game road-trip. Luka Doncic missed the Mavs’ first meeting with the Bulls in Chicago earlier this season with a strained quad, but he will be available to go head-to-head with the high-scoring Zach LaVine today.
In the last meeting, reserve point guard Jalen Brunson stepped into the starting role in place of the injured Doncic and went off for 31 points. However, LaVine’s 39 points was too much to overcome, and the Bulls pulled away from the Mavs with a 118-108 victory.
These teams have been trending in different directions since that game. The Mavs, who were 2-4 on the season after that recent loss to Chicago, have won four of their last five games and now sit at 6-5. The Bulls, on the other hand, have lost four games in a row and now sit towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference at 4-8.
“We got to learn how to win a basketball game,” said a seemingly frustrated LaVine after their recent loss to OKC where Chicago relinquished a 22-point lead.
LaVine has been a DallasBasketball.com pipe-dream trade idea for the Mavs for nearly a full year now, and right before the NBA draft last year, it was reported that the Mavs had inquired about trading for LaVine. So even if the Mavs don’t have the ammo to pull that kind of trade off, we have to imagine that they’ll keep trying. And what better time to negotiate than when both teams are playing each other? If you recall, we got the Kristaps Porzingis trade news the day after the Mavs played the Knicks in New York.
Regardless of what people may think of LaVine’s defense, make no mistake, the guy is a star who can score 25 or more points on any given night. The Mavs have been fantastic defensively this season so far, but the offense has been inconsistent. Adding LaVine to the mix would balance things out perfectly in our humble opinion ... so hey, let’s enjoy this game while also continuing to dream a little bit.
INJURY UPDATE: Bulls: Devon Dotson: out (not with team), Luke Kornet: out (not with team), Chandler Hutchinson: out (health protocols), Thomas Satoransky: out (health protocols), Otto Porter Jr.: probable (back strain), Mavericks: Maxi Kleber: out (health protocols), Jalen Brunson: out (health protocols), Tim Hardaway Jr.: out (hip strain), Dorian Finney-Smith: out (health protocols), Dwight Powell: out (health protocols), Josh Richardson: out (health protocols).
PLAYER TO WATCH: We all know what LaVine is capable of, but for this game, our player to watch is Coby White. The second-year guard out of North Carolina really hurt the Mavs in their last matchup, finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Every one of his four three-pointers made in that game were extremely timely for the Bulls, as it kept the Mavs from pulling ahead late.
ODDS: Mavs favored by 7 points. Over/under is 227 points.
RECORDS: Dallas Mavericks (6-5) vs. Chicago Bulls (4-8)
WHEN: Sunday, 2 p.m. CST
LOCATION: American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX
TV/RADIO: Fox Sports Southwest, NBA League Pass
CONTINUE READING: Oladipo Dislikes Rockets; Would He Like This Mavs Trade?