It's probably safe to say there will be more nights like this one for the rebuilding Chicago Bulls.
In their second preseason contest in Dallas on Wednesday, the Bulls played a decent first half, hung around for most of the third quarter, then were buried late. The Bulls lost to the Mavs 118-71 after being outscored 44-11 in the fourth quarter.
Paul Zipser and Robin Lopez led the Bulls with 12 points each. They'll play their first preseason home game Friday against Milwaukee at the United Center.
As promised, coach Fred Hoiberg changed the starting lineup for Game 2. Kris Dunn took over for Jerian Grant at point guard, while Nikola Mirotic got the start at power forward instead of Bobby Portis. Lopez, Zipser and Justin Holiday fill out the starting lineup in both contests.
Everything seemed fine at halftime, when the Bulls trailed 49-43. In Tuesday's preseason victory at New Orleans, the Bulls got off to a terrible start but took the lead in the third quarter and held on for a 4-point win.
So far, the new-look Bulls seems focused on constant ball movement. As is the case with most every NBA team, the stars tend to hold the ball and try to create scoring opportunities for themselves. The Bulls had two guys last year, Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade, who looked for their own shot when the Bulls needed points.
So with those players gone, the Bulls seemed determined to keep the ball moving at all times, and it usually results in an open shot. The Bulls played in spurts during the first half, depending on whether their 3-point attempts would fall. But when the shots stopped falling in the second half, the Bulls couldn't stop the downward slide and didn't have the experience defensively to stop Dallas' roll.
The Bulls finished the night shooting 34.6 percent overall and 24.1 percent (7-for-29) from 3-point range. The worst shooters on the night were Dunn and two-way contract holder Antonio Blakeney, who each went 1-for-9. On the bright side, Dunn finished with 6 assists and Grant added 5.
Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 17 points.
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