The Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks definitely have something in common this season: an all-star on the mend.
While Derrick Rose recovers from ACL surgery, Dallas is without veteran Dirk Nowitzki until probably mid-December.
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Nowitzki played in the team's first preseason game in Berlin, then had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Oct. 19. Mavs coach Rick Carlisle doesn't have a return date in mind.
"I don't know that much about it, other than he's working hard every day and making strides," Carlisle said before the game. "We'd hope to have him back sooner than later, but right now there's nothing imminent and we're going to make sure that he's right before he steps on the court."
Asked about the similarities between the Bulls and the Mavs, Carlisle could relate. Both teams were a game below .500 heading into Wednesday's action.
"We've got to deal with our situation and they've got to deal with theirs," he said. "It's tough. The hope is, when you come through it, you've got guys who were put in situations where they've had to step up and be out of their comfort zone and do a little more."
Mayo on hold:
One player in the spotlight for Dallas is shooting guard O.J. Mayo. He became an unrestricted free agent last summer when Memphis didn't make a qualifying offer, and he signed a two-year deal with the Mavs for a relative bargain rate, a reported $4 million, this season.
Heading into Wednesday's game, Mayo was averaging 20.8 points and shooting 48.6 percent from the field. He did not have a great night against the Bulls, however, scoring 4 points on 2-of-9 shooting.
"I love his toughness," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "He plays hurt. He's done it multiple times now. He had an ankle thing three days ago and he's been playing. He had a thing with his hand where it was all torn up and he still wanted to play exhibition games.
"I have a strong admiration for that. He's a really good kid, and he loves to play. Can't get enough of those guys in this league."
Rough stuff rewind:
Dallas forward Bernard James was called for a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter for pulling Taj Gibson down from behind on a layup attempt. After video review, however, referees decided it was a regular foul. Gibson landed hard on his back but hit both free throws.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban sat courtside near the visiting bench, a spot often occupied by Bulls legend Scottie Pippen. … In the Mavs' locker room, Monday's Bulls-Bucks game played on the TV. Shawn Marion watched the Bulls go up 75-51 and asked a team employee, "Who won this game?"