Bulls take on Mavericks, aim for 10th straight win

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January 7, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (33) is defended by Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) during the second half at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Eastern Conference leaders Chicago Bulls will bring the NBA’s longest winning streak to Dallas on Sunday for a clash with a Mavericks team experiencing their own heat wave.

Chicago won its ninth consecutive game Friday 130-122 against the Washington Wizards. Chicago’s Zach LaVine scored 27 points, Coby White added 21 points off the bench and Nikola Vucevic flirted with a triple-double, registering 16 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.

White connected on 4 of 4 3-point attempts, Ayo Dosunmu hit 3 of 4 en route for 18 points off the bench, and Lonzo Ball scored 18 of 6 of 11 3-pointers for most of the 15 performances. of Chicago on 33 Beyond the Arc.

However, Bulls coach Billy Donovan said in his post-game press conference that he hopes to see continued improvement in 3-pointers’ shots as Chicago look to extend their winning streak.

“One of the areas where we have to improve is that we have to improve on the downhill,” he said. “When you come down, you force the spin, you force a second defender into the painting to help you. This is when your spray [3-pointers] start to come.

While Donovan sees areas for more opportunity, the Bulls lead the NBA with an average of 38.7% team-wide over a 3-point range. LaVine and Ball get 41.4% and 41.6% respectively.

The Bulls’ offense clicks in the middle of the streak, which began on December 19. Friday marked Chicago’s fourth game in this series with at least 130 points, and the Bulls are averaging 120.2 points per game during that streak.

Conversely, Dallas brings a five-game winning streak, the best of the season, in Sunday’s game, thanks to the Mavericks’ defense.

Dallas kept the first four opponents in their run under 100 points and had a five-game stretch giving up 96 or less, including their last loss, a 95-94 decision Dec. 29 in Sacramento.

The Mavericks’ under-100 defensive streak ended Friday, but Dallas beat Houston 130-106.

Jalen Brunson recorded a 15-point double-double and 10 assists, Josh Green shot 6 of 7 from the floor for 17 points off the bench and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 19 points in reserve.

Six Mavericks scored in double digits in aggregate to help carry the offensive burden with star Luka Doncic sidelined with an ankle injury.

Doncic is averaging 25 points, 8.8 assists and 8.0 rebounds per game, including 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the 99-82 loss to Golden State on Wednesday.

Friday marked Doncic’s 11th absence in the last 14 outings for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also without Kristaps Porzingis – who is part of the COVID-19 health and safety protocol – as well as head coach Jason Kidd.

Assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who oversees the Dallas defense, replaced the head coach.

“We were really excited for the opportunity he had, and he stepped up to the plate and made sure we were ready,” Brunson said in the post-game press conference.

Dallas enter Sunday’s game with the No. 3 defense in the league in games played on Friday, keeping their opponents averaging 103.4 points per game.

–Field level media

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