Just as quickly as the Bulls had put together multiple wins in over a month, they were reminded quickly of the frustration they endured during string of losses that came in between that time as the Dallas Mavericks served them a humiliating 105-83 loss that wasn’t even that close.
Down by as many 32 points, the defense that had looked so strong in the two previous games was non-existent on Saturday.
The Mavericks shot 52.6 from the field, connected on 13 of their 26 3-pointers (a Bulls season high for 3-ptrs allowed to an opponent). The Bulls (11-17) only fight came in the fourth, when down 86-56, they got off to a 16-0 run and shrunk their deficit down to 14.
“You have to give them credit,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They played well, they shot well. They are a terrific offensive team. They got their confidence early and then they can go all night. I thought we had some tough plays early and the defense was initially good and we got called for some fouls. Usually we’re very disciplined on playing well, but they were in the bonus early on. We need to play aggressively. Once they start, it’s hard to shut them off. They have a lot of weapons that they can come at you with. I have to do a better job at getting us ready.”
Nothing Thibodeau could have done could’ve helped his team as the Mavs used a 15-2 run the last 3:14 of the first quarter to take a 30-19 lead. That lead increased to 29 in the second as the Bulls shot just 38.9 percent from the field in the first half.
Joakim Noah led the team with 20 points and 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the season. Taj Gibson and Carlos Boozer added 13 apiece and Jimmy Butler and D.J. Augustin both finished with 11.
The Bulls committed 18 turnovers that the Mavericks turned into 22 points.
Monta Ellis led the Mavericks with a game-high 22 points. Dirk Nowitzki added 18 and Vince Carter also added that total off the bench.
“Right when you’re feeling too good about yourself, somebody smacks you,” Gibson said. “That’s the part of the NBA. We just got to bounce back and do our jobs. (Thibodeau) told us what to do. At times we did it, but a lot of times we didn’t do it and it hurt us.
“We really tried to make a push in the fourth quarter. We were D-ing up, full-court pressure. We had a shot but that lead was just too big. We dug ourselves a hole.”
The Bulls will have off day to dissect what went wrong before headed to play the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and returning home to take on the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday.
“We didn’t play well offensively or defensively,” Noah said. “We got to do a better job and we will.”