In a battle of two young, potentially franchise-changing point guards, Chicago’s Kris Dunn (career high 32 points) carried the Bulls to a 127-124 win over Dennis Smith Jr. and the Mavericks on Friday night.
For the second game in a row, Dallas trailed by double digits in the waning minutes, but put together a furious rally that ultimately fell short. Yogi Ferrell’s potentially game-tying three at the buzzer clanged off the rim.
Chicago scored 47 points in the final quarter. It was the most the Mavericks had allowed in a quarter this season.
The loss was the Dallas’ second in a row and dropped the Mavericks to 13-27 while Chicago (14-25) picked up its 11th win in its last 16 games.
The Bulls used a 17-6 run to start the fourth quarter to take a 97-94 lead, but Dirk Nowitzki tied the game with a 3 at the 7:02 mark. From there, Dunn picked apart Dallas from deep and everywhere else.
The Bulls started hot, hitting their first eight shots including three from deep en route to a 20-7 lead.
Dallas kept pace and trailed by four at halftime, 57-53. Dennis Smith Jr. struggled early, but closed with a 10-point fourth quarter to help Dallas stage its final rally. He finished 1-of-5 from the free throw line but was able to continually find Wesley Matthews for open 3s as well as other teammates in the early going. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
Matthews entered the game shooting better than 46% on threes on which he received a pass from Smith. The trend continued, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Chicago’s hot shooting. The Bulls finished shooting 56.4% from the floor to Dallas’ 53.3%. He led the Mavericks in scoring for the second straight and finished with 24 points.
The Mavericks took the lead in the third quarter and extended the advantage to 83-76 on a pretty drive from Devin Harris. A Barea three stretched the advantage to 88-80 heading into the final quarter.
Dallas faces the New York Knicks at 6 p.m. Sunday at home and will retire Derek Harper’s No. 12 jersey at halftime.
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