Dunn adds responsibility, then scores career-high in win at Dallas
Getting a taste of some warmer weather might have been good for the Bulls' shooting hands. They opened Friday's game in Dallas by hitting 6 of 7 shots from 3-point range in the first quarter.
It wasn't exactly sweltering in north Texas, but the high of 58 degrees was well above the single digits of Chicago. The Bulls made the most of their trip with a 127-124 victory over the Mavericks that snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Bulls dominated the fourth quarter for the most part, but had to sweat out a furious Dallas rally. The Bulls led by 8 points with 27.7 seconds left and didn't miss any free throws. The game wasn't clinched, though, until Yogi Ferrell missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
This was a day when some Bulls who had a rough night in Wednesday's loss to Toronto found redemption.
Kris Dunn took on a great role in running the offense and bounced back from a 2-point performance against the Raptors to pile up a career-high 32 points against the Mavericks. Dunn added 9 assists, 4 steals and knocked down a couple of late jumpers to give the Bulls (14-25) the cushion they needed at the end.
"I had a really good talk with Kris before tonight's game," coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters after the game. "I brought him in my office and I said, 'Listen, I'm going to start giving you some added responsibility. You're becoming a guy that as you go, we go.'
"I'm going to let you control the offense a little bit so he's not looking over his shoulder at me for play calls all the time. Start recognizing who to get the ball to. If Justin (Holiday's) got it going, run a play for him. Tonight we had great flow early. We went with it and stuck with it. Those are the things to get Kris to the next step is go out there and recognize situations. We want to keep our pace, we want to keep our flow."
Holiday added 23 points and hit 5 of 6 3-pointers. He's gone 11-for-15 from long range in the last two games.
Lauri Markkanen scored 16 points and David Nwaba had 13. The Bulls hit 14 of 28 shots from 3-point range and knocked down 25 of 32 free throws.
The Bulls' reserves delivered a much better effort. They gave up two big runs against Toronto that ended up being the difference in the game.
In Dallas, the Bulls trailed 88-80 heading into the fourth, but a lineup of reserves launched a 10-0 run to take the lead. Nwaba, Jerian Grant and Bobby Portis made baskets during the run.
Hoiberg tried a new big man combination, using Markkanen and Portis for most of the fourth quarter before Nikola Mirotic checked in late.
A Holiday 3-pointer put the Bulls ahead 105-100 with 4:09 left. While Dallas tried to keep pace, Markkanen slammed in a miss by Nwaba, then Dunn hit a 3-pointer and 18-foot jumper. When Mirotic got loose on an inbounds pass, his lay in put the Bulls up 114-104 with 1:08 remaining.
With all the late free throws, the Bulls outscored Dallas in the fourth quarter 47-36, one basket short of the franchise record for points in a quarter.
Dallas (13-27) got off to a slow start this season, but has played well lately. The Mavericks won four straight, including victories over Toronto and Oklahoma City, before losing in the final seconds to Golden State on Wednesday.
Against the Warriors, Dallas erased a 10-point deficit with 2:46 left before Steph Curry's game-winner. Wesley Matthews led the Mavs on Friday with 24 points.
"It's a really good win coming down here," Hoiberg said. "This is a team, that's been really hot and rolling. We'll take it."
• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls.
Scouting reportBulls vs. Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 6 p.m.
TV: WGN • Radio: WLS 890-AM
Outlook: This will be the last of four regular season meetings between the Bulls and Pacers, with the Bulls going 1-2 so far. When the Bulls won the most recent game 119-107 at the UC on Dec. 29, Indiana was without top scorer Victor Oladipo due to knee soreness. Oladipo (24.9 ppg) hasn't returned and the Pacers have lost five in a row. Oladipo said he is hoping to return Saturday. On their previous trip to Indianapolis, the Bulls squandered a 17-point lead and lost 98-96 on Dec. 6, the last game before their seven-game win streak. C Myles Turner (13.9 ppg) and SF Bojan Bogdanovich (13.8) are in a close race for Indiana's second-leading scorer.
Next: Houston Rockets at the United Center, 7 p.m. Monday.
-- Mike McGraw