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pre-gamin

Pre-Gamin’: Bulls vs. Mavericks (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

After a big-time statement win over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night, the Bulls have another tough test ahead of them tonight, with Luka Doncic and the Mavericks visiting the United Center.

Doncic is averaging 24 points, eight rebounds, and six assists to start the season, and he will be a matchup nightmare for the Bulls tonight, just as Kevin Durant was on Monday. So, try to limit Doncic and shut down the other scorers on the team. Also, closing out on the Mavericks from three-point land should be a point of emphasis tonight. The Bulls allow opposing teams to hit 38.6 percent of their three-point attempts, and Dallas loves to let it fly from deep, averaging just under 40 shots per contest.

I have a feeling that this guy will play a big part in trying to limit the Mavericks’ looks from deep tonight.

Game Info

Chicago Bulls vs. Dallas Mavericks – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio), NBA TV (National TV)

Stream the game online here with your cable provider.

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Lonzo Ball
2. Zach LaVine
3. Javonte Green
4. DeMar DeRozan
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury report: Coby White OUT (shoulder), Patrick Williams OUT (wrist)

Dallas Mavericks

1. Tim Hardaway Jr.
2. Luka Doncic
3. Dorian Finney-Smith
4. Kristaps Prozingis
5. Dwight Powell

Injury report: Maxi Kleber OUT (left oblique strain)

What to Watch For …

•   The Bulls have struggled in the first quarter this season, but they managed to come out of the gates strong against Brooklyn, scoring 35 points en route to a 35-27 lead over the Nets after the first quarter on Monday night. A strong start will be essential for the Bulls again tonight against the Mavericks, who rank 27th in the NBA with a 99.2 offensive rating in the opening quarter. Score early and often, take control of the game.

•    Defending your floor is important, and despite the meat grinder stretch of the schedule that the Bulls have been tasked with early this season, Chicago is 4-2 at home this season and 2-0 against Western Conference opponents with wins over the New Orleans Pelicans and the Utah Jazz at the United Center.

•   The Bulls swept the season series with the Dallas Mavericks last year for the first time since the 2017-18 season and have won three straight against the Mavericks overall. Despite the two teams checking in tonight with identical 7-3 records, the Bulls lead the Mavericks in most statistical categories, including PPG (108.9-102.4), FG% (.462-.431), 3FG% (.353-.317), FT% (.858-.709), SPG (8.8-6.7), and BPG (5.4-4.6).

•   The fourth-quarter Bulls are a thing, folks. They lead the NBA in fourth-quarter defensive rating (95.6) and are second in fourth-quarter offensive rating at 116.5). All the more reason that taking advantage of the Mavericks’ poor first-quarter offensive rating is vital to a win tonight. If they can hit the fourth quarter with a lead, you have to feel pretty good about their chances of closing Dallas out down the stretch.

•   Some pre-game reading; I wrote about Alex Caruso’s emergence as a fan-favorite and a key to the Bulls’ on-court success in the infancy of this season earlier today, and Eli discussed Nikola Vucevic’s contributions to the team despite an overall slow start this season:



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.