Following a last second loss to the Warriors on Wednesday, the Mavericks look to continue their hot play against the Bulls tonight at the AAC. Chicago comes into Dallas losers of their last three games after winning 10 of the previous 12 games.
After a slow start, the Bulls have found a rhythm and rotation that works for them, specifically focused around Nikola Mirotic. Mirotic has averaged 18.4 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in 15 appearances this season. Other bright spots for the Bulls has been rookie Lauri Markkanen and second-year guard Kris Dunn.
Prior to losing to the Warriors on Wednesday, the Mavs had won four games in a row. Over the last eight games, Dallas ranks second in offensive rating across the league. It’s safe to say that the Mavericks have played much better as of late but which team are they: the one of late or the team that began the season 1-10?
For the Mavericks to kick start a new win streak, they must be able to defend the three ball. Mirotic, Markkanen, and Justin Holiday all average over six three point attempts per game and each shoot at decent rates, especially Mirotic at 46%.
Another thing that Dallas must do is rebound the basketball. Chicago ranks in the top 10 in rebounding while Dallas ranks in the bottom 10. The Bulls have seven players who average at least five rebounds per game so the Mavs must box out and stay on their toes when the ball is up for grabs.
Look for Harrison Barnes to have a big game against a weaker defensive team on the perimeter and for J.J. Barea to continue killing second units.
Lastly, I’d say tonight marks the perfect time for the first undisputed DSJ poster. The victim? Lauri Markkanen makes for the perfect candidate. A little rookie on rookie crime never hurt anybody and for anyone who dared to compare Markkanen to Dirk needs their eyeballs checked.
Watch your head, rook.
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