Monday, June 27

Mavericks, Bulls looking to bounce back from stabbing losses

Before Sunday’s matinee between host Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls begins, teams must overcome some recent bitter finishes.

“We doubled down,” said Zach LaVine of the Bulls of Friday’s 127-125 overtime loss in Oklahoma City that saw Chicago blow a 10-point lead with 1:47 to play. “There isn’t much to talk about.”

For Dallas, a 112-109 loss at Milwaukee on the same night apparently changed when coach Rick Carlisle decided not to call a timeout to set up a play with the Mavericks trailing by two points later. Kristaps Porzingis’ 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left was deflected, prompting star Luca Doncic to react in frustration to the team bench after Dallas fouled moments later.

“If we had made the shot, everything would be fine,” Doncic said. “I don’t know. It’s up to the coach to ask for a time-out or not, so I think it’s good.”

Doncic narrowly missed a triple-double, contributing 28 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds.

Playing in his second game after recovering from offseason surgery to his right knee, Porzingis scored 15 points on 6 of 19 shots in 19 minutes.

Porzingis recognized the need to be “calmer” on the floor as he returns to his routine.

“There has to be a balance,” Porzingis said. “You want to be aggressive, but you want to be aggressive in situations and positions that you feel comfortable with. You don’t want to always look for it.”

Bulls first-year coach Billy Donovan is confident his young team will develop a stronger finishing kick, but vowed to do more after Chicago lost its fourth straight game, all by four points or less.

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Committing 24 turnovers ultimately doomed the Bulls, who led the Thunder by 22 points in the third quarter and by 14 with 4:09 to play.

“This is a very hardworking group; it’s a good group of guys,” Donovan said. “They want to win. They don’t know how to do it. They’re learning how to do it. We all have to come together and work together and try to figure it out because this has been something these guys have been dealing with for a while. I’m 12 games in this with them. And how Coach, you feel bad. You want to be able to do more, and I have to try to find a few different ways to try to help them as a group. “

Zach LaVine scored 35 points to lead five players in double figures. Returning to the lineup for the first time since Dec. 29 due to NBA health and safety protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lauri Markkanen had 16 points.

Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell and Josh Richardson of Dallas were out on Friday due to health and safety protocols.

Chicago defeated visiting Dallas 118-108 on January 3 with 39 points from LaVine and a strong finish from Coby White, who scored 21 of his 23 points after halftime.

Doncic missed the game with a quadruple concussion, but Brunson, who played his setup ball in Chicago’s northern suburbs, helped fill the void with 31 points.

–Field level media

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