Dallas star Dirk Nowitzki was on the court late into the fourth quarter Friday. So with the Bulls trailing 90-81 and 5:59 remaining, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau decided to see if Derrick Rose could mount a preseason comeback.
Rose not only brought the Bulls back, he hit what might have been the biggest shot of his career had this been a game that counted. Rose drilled a tying 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left, but the Bulls squandered too many chances in overtime and lost to Dallas 109-105 in front of a nearly full house the United Center.
"The shot was I guess a good shot, but we didn't win the game. It's all about winning, Rose said. "That shot took it to overtime, but we didn't finish the game the way we were supposed to.
Nowitzki left the floor with 15 seconds left in regulation and the Mavericks had no starters on the floor during overtime, but the Bulls still couldn't get it done with Rose and Luol Deng in the game. They had three chances to stretch a 2-point lead and couldn't convert, then let Dallas score 5 points on a single possession.
Trouble began when rookie Dominique Jones hit a driving layup and was fouled by C.J. Watson. He missed the free throw, but center Ian Mahinmi followed in the miss and was hacked by Kurt Thomas. Mahinmi completed the 3-point play to put Dallas up 106-103 with 26.4 seconds left.
The Bulls' big guns played well. Rose and Deng scored 23 points each, with Deng knocking down 5 of 7 shots from 3-point range. Joakim Noah piled up 15 rebounds, 13 points, 5 assists, 3 blocks and 6 turnovers.
The bad news was some weak shooting off the bench. Watson (2-for-13), Kyle Korver (2-for-7) and Ronnie Brewer (0-for-5) combined to shoot a stellar 16 percent from the field. Rose ended up playing slightly more than 37 minutes, 10 seconds less than Nowitzki, who led the Mavs with 24 points.
After the game, Thibodeau complained about the Bulls' 21 turnovers and 34 fouls, which gave Dallas 51 free-throw attempts.
"You look at your turnovers and fouls, you're beating yourself that way, Thibodeau said. "There are certain turnovers you can live with. We'd like to have less than 14 in every game. The ones I don't like are when we're holding the ball, dancing with the ball and the defense gets set, then we try to thread a needle or we try to go 1-on-1. You're just asking for trouble.
Thibodeau probably wasn't counting on 48 minutes of zone offense practice, but that's exactly what he got from the Dallas defense. The Bulls produced a fantastic first quarter, piling up 38 points while shooting 65 percent from the field. In the middle two quarters, however, the home team managed to score just 36 points and shoot 36 percent.
"We just have to execute our plays and I think we win that game, Rose said. "In practice, we're moving the ball good, but we're overthinking while out there and making little turnovers. We can easily fix that.
Thibodeau collected a technical foul at the 6:41 mark of the second quarter.
The Bulls (2-3) play again Saturday at Orlando.
Gibson rests foot:
Bulls forward Taj Gibson skipped Friday's game because of a sore right heel. Rookie center Omer Asik started in his place, while Joakim Noah moved to power forward. Asik finished with 7 points, 6 rebounds and 4 fouls in 20 minutes.
Gibson turned his ankle slightly in practice, which ended up causing pain in his heel. He suffered from plantar fasciitis during his rookie season but didn't miss any games.
"They're just being cautious. They didn't want me to have any problems as far as the regular season, he said. "The foot's been fine. I kind of tweaked my ankle a little bit and it had a little effect on my foot. But it was nothing. We checked it today.
"They're not sure if it has anything to do with my plantar fasciitis. Everything is fine right now. The training staff just wanted me to take it easy.