The Bulls Saturday couldn’t close their short road trip or the game as the Dallas Mavericks scored six straight points on free throws to break from a tie game with just over a minute left and defeated the Bulls 118-111.
The Bulls had a chance to tie trailing by three with 11.2 seconds left. But Derrick Rose could not find anyone cutting to the ball and was called for a five-second violation for a turnover. It spoiled a big fourth quarter comeback behind Rose’s nine points that tied the game for the Bulls with two minutes remaining. Fitting the way the end went for the Bulls, Jimmy Butler committed the Bulls 18th turnover for 26 Dallas points in a last desperate rush.
The loss in the entertaining back and forth game dropped the Bulls to 16-12. The surprising Mavs moved to 17-13.
The Bulls were led by 25 points from Rose on 12 of 20 shooting and 23 points from Nikola Mirotic with four three pointers. Pau Gasol had 18 points and nine rebounds and Jimmy Butler 17 points. J.J. Barea had 26 points for Dallas with seven three pointers. The indomitable Dirk Nowitzki had 16 points and three three pointers.
The Bulls shot 53.8 percent, but Dallas had 16 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the Bulls. The Bulls bench was outscored 36-16 without the injured Joakim Noah.
The Bulls got a fast start in the late start. With tornados in the area, the NBA agreed to allow the teams to start 30 minutes late to accommodate late arriving fans. It didn’t slow the Bulls, who broke out to a 12-3 start in the first two and a half minutes. The Bulls took advantage of the Mavs trying to hide little J.J. Barea on Nikola Mirotic, who worked over Barea. It seemed to propel Mirotic, who was better balanced on his catch-and-shoot and had 16 first half points. But the Mavericks closed fast and blew by the Bulls late in the first quarter with a 10-0 run to close the quarter for a 33-26 Dallas lead. The Mavs made seven of nine threes in the first with 60 percent overall shooting. The Bulls regained the momentum to open the second quarter with Doug McDermott scoring seven straight points and handing the scoring baton to Mirotic. They combined with Rose coming back to settle the offense to take a 54-43 Bulls lead with just under three minutes left in the half. But the Bulls gave up the three again to Barea and Dallas had a strong close again, 16-6 to pull within 60-59 at half even as the Bulls shot 56.4 percent. Then it was the Mavs who forced the early timeout with an 11-3 run to open the third quarter as Barea continued to make the threes and he and Nowitzki baffled the Bulls on their pick and roll. The Mavs went ahead 75-66 with 7:13 left in the third on Barea’s seventh straight three. But with Rose driving it back at Barea, the Bulls fought back ahead, finishing a late run on their favorite Gasol to Butler lob dunk play. But the Mavs continued to outplay the Bulls on the offensive boards, 13 through three quarters as the Mavs went ahead 90-89 heading into the fourth quarter. The teams traded leads the first three minutes of the fourth. Then the Mavs nosed ahead 102-98 as they continued to outhustle the Bulls on the offensive boards, the Bulls in that back to back. Rose then grabbed hold of the game with nine points sandwiched around a Mirotic three to tie the game at 108 with just over two minutes remaining.