Bulls at Mavericks
7:30 p.m. Friday, American Airlines Center, Dallas
Radio: ESPN/103.3 FM, KFLC/1270 AM (Spanish)
Records: Bulls 31-26; Mavs 36-23
About the Bulls: The Bulls have heated up with wins in seven of their past eight games. The only loss was at Miami, 93-79 on Sunday. ... Chicago is in second place in the Central Division and is 14-16 on the road, 9-13 against the West and in fourth place in the East. ... The Bulls play a mean brand of basketball that’s built in physicality, grit and intimidation. The leader of the pack is Joakim Noah, who averages 12.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Carlos Boozer is averaging 14.7 ppg and 8.7 rpg, Texas ex D. J. Augustin averages 13.4 ppg and 5.5 assists, and Taj Gibson is averaging 13.2 ppg and 6.7 rpg✔. ... Gibson scored 21 points Wednesday when the Bulls blew out the Golden State Warriors 103-83. ... The Bulls prefer to play at a slow pace. Chicago is last in the NBA in points scored (92.9 ppg) and second in fewest points allowed (92.3 ppg). The Bulls are seventh in rebounds (45.1 rpg) and 11th in assists (22.3 apg).
About the Mavs: Like the Bulls, the Mavs have taken advantage of some weak competition to win 10 of 12. It’s the Mavs’ best stretch of success in nearly three years. ... Monta Ellis scored 23 points, handed out seven assists and picked up four steals in Wednesday’s 108-89 win over New Orleans. The Mavs are 20-13 when Ellis scores at least 20 points. ... Ellis is one steal from becoming the 145th player in NBA history to have at least 1,000 career steals. ... Vince Carter has scored at least 17 points in each of the past three games and is averaging 19.3 ppg in the span. ... The Mavs are 17-9 when they turn the ball over 12 times or fewer this season and 19-14 when they have 13 or more. ... The Mavs clobbered the Bulls in Chicago 105-83 on Dec. 28. The Mavs, who led by 32 points at one point, got 22 points from Ellis and 14 points and 13 rebounds from Shawn Marion.
— Dwain Price