Playing at the American Airlines Center hasn’t provided much of a home-court advantage for them this season, so the Dallas Mavericks will try to regroup in an arena where they’ve won eight of their past nine.
Looking to extend their recent dominance at the United Center, the Mavericks on Thursday night will meet the Chicago Bulls, who are trying to avoid their third straight home loss.
Dallas nearly dealt the Los Angeles Lakers their first loss of the season on Tuesday. The Mavericks scored a season-high 60 points in the first half against the league’s top defense, but shot just 15-of-46 in the second half en route to a 106-99 loss.
“We got the stops when we had to, but we couldn’t get the ball in the basket on the other end,” said Jason Kidd, who recorded his 101st career triple-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as Dallas (2-5) fell to 0-3 at home for the first time in 15 seasons.
“You’ve got to be able to finish games and you’ve got to be able to win at home,” first-year Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “We ran great in the first half. In the second half, they played better and we didn’t get the same opportunities.”
Now, the Mavericks head to Chicago, where they have held the Bulls to 98 points or less in each of the last nine visits there. Dirk Nowitzki, limited to 14 points in the loss to the Lakers, has had four double-doubles in that span, and is averaging 24.1 points on 42.0 percent shooting from the field.
Nowitzki leads Dallas with 23.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game this season.
Kidd, meanwhile, has had two career triple-doubles in Chicago, the most recent coming on Jan. 11, 2007. Playing with New Jersey, he finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in an 86-83 victory.
Dallas may be without swingman Josh Howard, who made the trip to Chicago despite missing the last two games with a sprained wrist. Howard is second on the team in scoring (17.0) and rebounding (7.2) in 2008-09.
If he’s unable to go, Gerald Green will likely start again. The former slam-dunk champion has totaled 30 points and 18 rebounds over two starts in place of Howard.
While Dallas couldn’t beat the Western Conference’s only undefeated team, the Bulls couldn’t stop Atlanta from its sixth straight win to open the season, falling 113-108 to the Hawks.
Chicago allowed Atlanta to shoot 47.0 percent from the floor, and 7-of-17 from beyond the arc.
“Our defense was terrible,” said Bulls forward Luol Deng, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. “We did a poor job picking up guys in transition. We didn’t help each other.”
Chicago (3-5) has allowed 102.3 points per game in its last four, up from 93.3 in its first four outings.
Top overall draft pick Derrick Rose tied a career high with 26 points and had 10 rebounds for his first career double-double despite back spasms that started before the game. Rose, who is expected to face the Mavs, leads all rookies with 42 assists and is second in scoring with 18.8 points.
Ben Gordon added 19 as he started his second consecutive game in place of Kirk Hinrich, out for three months after thumb surgery. In four home games versus Dallas during his career, Gordon has averaged 20.0 points.