CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls will try to win their third game in a row and climb back above .500 when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the Mavericks will go for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Chicago (21-21) is coming off weekend victories over the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies. A win against Dallas (13-27) would give the Bulls a winning streak of three games or more for the fourth time this season.
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The Mavericks hope to spoil those plans. After back-to-back wins against the Phoenix Suns and Minnesota Timberwolves, coach Rick Carlisle’s squad is feeling more confident.
Dallas’ sudden surge has come despite the absence of center Andrew Bogut, who missed two straight games because of a strained right hamstring. The 7-foot-tall, 260-pound big man is not expected to play against Chicago, which means Carlisle could turn to a smaller lineup that includes three guards and two forwards.
The small-ball approach worked in Sunday’s win over Minnesota. As a power forward and pseudo center Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points and defended center Karl-Anthony Towns.
“We don’t consider this serious,” Carlisle told the Dallas Morning News when asked about Bogut’s injury. “But we’re going to make sure that he’s not only feeling good but has his legs under him a little before we put him back out there. I don’t have a timetable. I hope it’s not too long. But we don’t want to mess around with this.”
Bulls guard Dwyane Wade expects to return to the starting lineup after sitting out the second game of a back-to-back set Sunday against Memphis. Wade is averaging 18.9 points in his first season with his hometown team.
Reserve forward Nikola Mirotic also could return to action for the Bulls, although his status is less certain. Mirotic missed the past four games because of an illness.
Dallas proved capable of knocking off Chicago with a resounding 107-82 win Dec. 3 at the American Airlines Center. Tuesday’s game marks the second and final meeting of the regular season.
In the first contest between the teams, Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews led the way with 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting. Forward Harrison Barnes added 22 points.
Bulls guard Jimmy Butler will look to continue his success against the Mavericks after scoring 26 points and pulling down nine rebounds in the Dec. 3 loss. Center Robin Lopez contributed 15 points for his second-best scoring performance of the season.
Bulls forward Doug McDermott will face Dallas for the first time this season. The former first-round draft pick scored a career-high 31 points Sunday against Memphis, and he could receive more playing time Tuesday if Mirotic is limited or cannot play.
“He’s too good of a shooter to stay in a slump,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said to the Chicago Tribune about McDermott, who is averaging 10.4 points a game in his third season. “He puts too much work in. He cares.”
The Bulls are 13-8 on their home court this season. Dallas is 5-16 on the road.