(The Sports Xchange) - The Bulls and Mavericks showed signs on Friday that both teams have had busy schedules of late but in the end Dallas had more energy down the stretch and pulled out an 83-77 win at the United Center.
The Mavericks were playing their third game in four days, and the Bulls were on their fourth in five days. Both teams had also participated in overtime games earlier in the week.
“With this schedule and the magnitude of opponents, you got to scratch and claw to get anything you can,” said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, whose team snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 23-18 on the season.
“Hey, it didn’t look good early. We were missing shots. We weren’t guarding them well. The guys hung in, and we gave ourselves a chance, and we did just that.”
The Bulls (23-16) were held to less than 100 points for the first time in 14 games and have dropped four of their last five games.
Chicago were the better team in the first half and held a 46-36 lead at halftime, though much of that was down to the Mavericks shooting 11 of 39 for 28.2 percent after two quarters.
The second half belonged to the Mavericks, however.
They shot 19 of 38 from the field and held the Bulls to 31 points on 13 of 41 in the second half.
”It was a tale of two halves,“ Mavericks guard Deron Williams said. ”The first half we couldn’t make a shot. We looked out of synch, out of rhythm.
”The second half we decided to get after them defensively. We knew they would be a little tired coming off the game they had last night, an OT game, having to fight back from 24 (points).
“We just kind of tried to outlast them. We got stops when we needed them. We made some big shots.”
Williams and forward Dirk Nowitzki came through for the Mavericks in the fourth quarter.
The lead was exchanged for the 13th and final time on the night when Williams connected on a 3-pointer to put the Mavs ahead 71-69. The basket began a 11-3 run for Dallas.
Williams scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and Nowitzki had five of Dallas’ final seven points.
Nowitzki scored 11 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. He shot six of 15 from the field and had seven rebounds. Center Zaza Pachulia (nine points, 10 rebounds) and guard J.J. Barea (nine points) also contributed to the win.
A day after scoring a career-high 53 points in an overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler was noticeably exhausted and struggled offensively.
He finished with four points on 2 of 11 shooting from the field. He went scoreless in the first half.
“He was tired,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said of Butler.
“He played a ton of minutes last night with a superhero performance game. There is no doubt about it. He was out there trying to battle through it, but it was tough after the overtime game last night.”
Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 18 points, followed by center Pau Gasol (17 points, eight rebounds) and forward Taj Gibson (nine points, 11 rebounds).
Bulls center Joakim Noah dislocated his left shoulder in the second quarter and immediately left the floor for the locker room. He did not return to the game. Hoiberg said Noah will have an MRI on Saturday morning.
Rose said it was difficult to see Noah, the team’s emotional leader, get injured.
“It hurt, it hurt,” Rose said. “Knowing how hard he works, how hard he wants to be on the court, how much he means to the team. It’s devastating.”
The Bulls later also lost guard Kirk Hinrich with a left quad contusion.
Editing by Peter Rutherford