The Dallas Mavericks travel to the Windy City to face the Chicago Bulls on Sunday night in the NBA. Both teams are looking to snap their inconsistent runs and put together a string of victories. Their quests to do so begin during the first weekend of the New Year.
Check out the 2020-21 NBA season first-half schedule here.
Fixture - Dallas Mavericks vs Chicago Bulls | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Sunday, January 3rd, 8:00 PM ET (Monday, January 4th, 6:30 AM IST)
Location - United Center, Chicago, IL.
Luka Doncic leads his Mavericks to United Center after an exhilarating 93-83 win against the Miami Heat on Friday. In that game, the third-year guard had a season-high 27 points and added 14 rebounds while Tim Hardway Jr. chipped in with 18.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls are coming off an embarrassing 126-96 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on the road but are now heading back to the relatively familiar confines of home turf. Though the Bulls have not won their last three home games this season, Chicago's fortunes could change on Sunday.
Dallas Mavericks Preview
The Dallas Mavericks have listed Luka Doncic as questionable for the game against the Chicago Bulls because of a quadriceps injury. He could be a game-time decision by coach Rick Carlisle, who will likely manage his star’s minutes in the event that Doncic is allowed to play.
It essentially means other players will need to step up, especially with Kristaps Porzingis out as well. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Richardson have to fill the void that Doncic would leave in case he is not available to play.
Key Player - Tim Hardaway Jr.
Every year, Tim Hardaway Jr. is expected to break out and be a 20-point scorer, but every year he falls short of that expectation. With an average of 15.2 points per game this season, he is right around his average as a Dallas Mavericks player the past year and a half.
The Dallas Mavericks only have three double-digit scorers in their team, but Hardaway has to score more to ease the burden off Doncic, who may or may not play in this game. If there’s a time for Hardaway to score 20 or more points, this game is the one.
Dallas Mavericks' Predicted Lineup
G Luka Doncic G Tim Hardaway Jr. F Josh Richardson F Dorian Finney-Smith C Dwight Powell.
Chicago Bulls Preview
After two consecutive wins against the Washington Wizards before the New Year, the Chicago Bulls were sent crumbling back to earth by the Bucks. The Bulls know they have work to do to become title contenders and might as well look to reach the playoffs as a more realistic goal.
Their offense is not a problem, as they have seven players averaging in double-figures. However, at the defensive end of the court, the Bulls have concerns. They are 27th in the league in defensive rating (114.4) and 29th in points allowed (123.5).
Unless they address their defensive issues, opponents will fancy their chances against the Dallas Mavericks.
Key Player - Coby White
The Chicago Bulls’ top playmaker this season is sophomore guard Coby White, who is still learning how to take charge of the offense. After dishing out a career-high ten assists against the Wizards on Thursday, he had three assists and four turnovers in the next game against the Bucks.
For the Chicago Bulls to be at their best offensively, White has to be more aware of how he can get his teammates the ball where they want them while also looking for shots himself.
Against the Dallas Mavericks, White should learn from his mistakes in his last game and continue his progression into a top-flight point guard.
Chicago Bulls' Predicted Lineup
G Coby White G Zach LaVine F Patrick Williams F Otto Porter Jr. C Wendell Carter Jr..
Mavericks vs Bulls Match Prediction
The Dallas Mavericks are poised to win their third game of the season at the expense of the Chicago Bulls, as the latter are missing one of their best players - Lauri Markkanen. However, if Doncic misses the game, the Bulls are expected to win.
The Mavs star’s presence could be the difference in this game. Without him, it’s unlikely that Dallas would find enough firepower against the Chicago Bulls.