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Bulls Lose 4th In A Row to Mavs 122-116

Not too long ago, things were looking up for the Chicago Bulls. They had come out of the all-star break winning four straight and six of seven overall with a season high four games over the .500 mark (31-27). However, injuries and inconsistent play on the defensive end, have the Bulls right back at the .500 mark following their latest 122-116 defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.

It seems that every time the Bulls were in striking distance in this game, the Mavericks had an answer. The Bulls closed within 54-51 with less than three minutes left in the second quarter but the Mavericks went on a 12-4 run to take a 66-55 lead into halftime. In the forth quarter, the Bulls had again picked up momentum as they closed within 98-94 after Dallas lead 94-80. Chicago seemed poise to finally overtake the Mavericks but Dallas had other plans. Dirk Nowitzki would score on the next possession and Caron Butler would follow with a three pointer stretching the lead to 103-94.

It's hard to tell from the final score but the Bulls outscored the Mavericks 36-28 in the final period but they couldn't seem to get a stop if their lives depended on it. The Mavericks shot 57% from the field and and almost 41% from three-point lead. No matter how good of a team you are, you won't win many games when allowing an opponent to shoot at such a high percentage. Clearly, not having Noah in the lineup puts the Bulls at a disadvantage with on the defensive end and also on the glass. Joakim Noah will be out for the next few weeks, so the Bulls will somehow have to find a way to fill that void while he's out.

With the loss, the Bulls fell into 8th place in the Conference standings and only have a half game lead over the ninth place Charlotte Bobcats. Head coach Vinny Del Negro has stated that the team needs more bench production but I think that it has to be an all around effort on both ends of the floor. This game proves that no matter how many points your team scores, you will lose the game if you are not able to get key stops down the stretch. With exactly 20 games left, the Bulls are going to need to win a number of games if they hope to avoid facing the either of the top two teams in the first round.

James Tillman

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