NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 30th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Bulls (39-31) at Dallas Mavericks (35-37), 2 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls will try to sustain the momentum gained from ending the Miami Heat's epic winning streak on Saturday afternoon when they meet the Dallas Mavericks in Big D.
The Bulls halted the Heat's 27-game winning streak at home on Wednesday. They showed the league the blueprint on how to beat the defending champions - pound them physically, win the battle of the boards (43-31) and ruffle the Heat's feathers.
"We've been saying all year when we are at our best we can beat anybody and we are at our worst we can lose to anybody," said Luol Deng. "It's something we all believe in. The good thing is to know we have the focus to lock in and can beat anybody."
Deng led the way with 28 points, followed by 21 from Carlos Boozer, who also pulled down 17 rebounds. The Bulls got 17 from Jimmy Butler and 14 points off the bench out of Nate Robinson.
The Bulls dominated the Heat on the glass, but also physically. Kirk Hinrich took a hard foul on LeBron James in the first quarter, then Taj Gibson essentially clotheslined him in the fourth.
It rattled the presumptive MVP. Shortly after the Gibson play, he threw a forearm shiver at Boozer and was whistled for a Flagrant-1 foul.
"I believe and know a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays," James said. "It's been happening all year. I've been able to keep my cool and try to tell Spo (coach Eric Spoelstra), 'Let's not worry about it too much.' It is getting to me a little bit."
The Bulls have won three in a row and are fifth in the East, two games behind Brooklyn and just one-half game ahead of Atlanta.
The Mavs' chances at a 13th straight playoff trip were dealt a serious blow on Thursday. They lost at home to the Indiana Pacers, 103-78, to fall 1 1/2 games behind Utah and the Lakers for eighth in the Western Conference.
"We've got to all stick together and keep going," head coach Rick Carlisle said after the loss. "It's disappointing when a game like this goes like this, because they're all of such high importance, but right now we're going to have to move forward and we're going to have to get ready for Saturday."
The Mavericks had won three in a row prior to the Indiana setback.
Against the Pacers, who won the second half, 62-37, Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 21 points. Vince Carter added 14 and Darren Collison had 10 off the bench.
After the Bulls game, the Mavs head west for four straight.
The Bulls have beaten Dallas four times in a row, but are 2-12 in their last 14 games in Big D.
03/30 10:21:05 ET