|5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CT23:00 , December 28, 2013
United Center, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 22,099
Dallas Mavericks at Chicago Bulls
- After losing four straight against the Bulls, the Mavericks won their last game against Chicago last season by a narrow margin of 100 to 98. Over their last five games against the Bulls, the Mavericks have been held to just 84.2 points per game on .401 shooting from the field and .280 shooting from long range.
- With their 116 to 107 loss to the Spurs on Thursday, the Mavericks have now lost three out of their last four games, and have allowed over 100 points in each of those games. In addition, their opponents have shot .500 from the field and .465 from long range over the Mavericks' last four games.
- After winning six out of their first seven home games, Chicago has lost four out of their last five games at home. Over their last five at home, the Bulls have been held to just 81.6 points per game on just .384 shooting from the field.
- The Bulls scored 16 fast break points in their last win over the Brooklyn Nets, their most in a game since Derrick Rose was injured. Since Rose's injury, the Bulls have averaged just 7.9 fast break points per game, the second-fewest in the NBA since then (New York Knicks, 6.9).
- Mike Dunleavy has scored double figures in each of the Bulls' last five home games, and in eight out of the Bulls' 12 games at home this season. So far in 2013-14, Dunleavy has averaged 12.3 points per game on .520 shooting from the field and .447 shooting on three-pointers at home, compared to 9.3 points per game on .381 shooting and .333 from long range on the road.
- Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points in the Mavericks' last game, the sixth consecutive game that Nowitzki scored 20 or more points. Over his last six games, Nowitzki is averaging 23.3 points per game on .524 shooting from the field.
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By TAYLOR BECHTOLD
(AP) -- With their defense back on track and overall health improving, the Chicago Bulls are on the verge of their longest winning streak in more than a month.
The Dallas Mavericks are looking to tighten things up following their worst defensive stretch of the season.
The Bulls hope to have leading scorer Luol Deng back as they seek their third straight win Saturday night while the visiting Mavericks try to avoid their fourth loss in five games.
Chicago (11-16) couldn't contain two of the top-scoring teams in the league, surrendering a total of 216 points on 52.4 percent shooting - including 17 of 37 from 3-point range - in double-digit losses at Houston and Oklahoma City last week.
The Bulls, however, bounced back by limiting Cleveland and Brooklyn to a combined 162 points, 37.9 percent shooting and 9 of 35 from beyond the arc in their last two victories. They held the Nets to season lows in points and shooting percentage (35.2) in a 95-78 road win on Christmas Day.
Chicago welcomed back starters Kirk Hinrich (back) and Jimmy Butler (ankle) in Wednesday's win.
Deng, though, is likely to be a game-time decision after missing three straight and seven of the past 10 because of an Achilles injury. The two-time All-Star, averaging a team-high 19.6 points, has scored 23.0 per game with nine 3-pointers in his last three against the Mavericks (16-13).
"It's coming around," coach Tom Thibodeau told the team's official website. "It's good to get guys back."
Though they haven't won three in a row since a five-game run from Nov. 8-18, the injury-ravaged Bulls remain one of the league's top defensive clubs with 92.7 points allowed per game on 42.8 percent shooting.
The Mavericks have had trouble scoring in recent visits to the United Center, averaging 79.3 points while shooting 36.5 percent during their three-game skid in Chicago. But they're playing well offensively heading into this meeting, averaging 107.5 points on 49.5 percent shooting over their last six.
Dirk Nowitzki leads Dallas with 21.6 points per game after finishing with a game-high 25 in a 116-107 loss to visiting San Antonio on Thursday. He had 35 points on 14-of-17 shooting - including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left - in a 100-98 home win over the Bulls on March 30.
The Mavericks could be getting Brandan Wright back after he missed Thursday's game because of an undisclosed illness. Wright, who missed the first 23 games while recovering from a fractured shoulder, has averaged 12.2 points on 25-of-34 shooting with nine blocked shots in the five games he's played.
Dallas could use any help it can get on the defensive end after allowing 113.0 points and 46.5 percent shooting from 3-point range while dropping three of four.
"It's just giving up too many points," Nowitzki told the team's official website. "It's tough and puts a lot of pressure on our offense."
The Bulls have averaged 96.0 points and shot 46.8 percent over their previous four games following a six-game stretch in which they averaged 79.5 points while shooting a dreadful 36.1 percent.
Taj Gibson has provided a spark with 16.3 points per game in his past four, while D.J. Augustin has averaged 15.3 points while making 9 for 17 from beyond the arc in his last three.
The Bulls are seeking their fifth win in six meetings.
Updated December 27, 2013