Chicago (22-28) at Dallas (29-20)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Dallas, TX
Temp: 42° F
  • Game info: 8:30 pm EST Sat Feb 7, 2009
  • TV: CSCH, FSSW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Dallas Mavericks’ offense was rolling in high gear in their first four games with Jason Kidd calling the plays, but they didn’t have that same punch their last time out.

Kidd looks to help the Mavericks get their offense back on track on Saturday when they host the suddenly high-scoring Chicago Bulls, led by rookie point guard Derrick Rose.

Dallas (29-20) coach Rick Carlisle put Kidd in charge of calling plays on offense following a 124-100 loss at Boston on Jan. 25. The move paid off immediately, as the Mavericks averaged 109.3 points on 54.4 percent shooting in winning their next four games.

They didn’t have much working offensively on Thursday, though, as they shot 40.0 percent from the field in a 115-87 loss at Utah.

Dallas’ defense also seemed to regress, as it allowed the Jazz to make 42-of-84 shots after yielding an average of 95.8 points on 43.5 percent shooting during its winning streak.

“We just didn’t play any defense,” Kidd said. “We have to address the fact that even if we aren’t making baskets we can still be productive on the defensive end.”

If the Mavericks struggle on the defensive end again Saturday, they may have trouble slowing down the Bulls (22-28).

Chicago shot 56.2 percent and had 22 fast-break points in Wednesday’s 107-93 win over New Orleans, its fourth victory in five games after dropping a season-high five in a row.

The Bulls jumped out to a 62-44 halftime lead over the Hornets, who were without Chris Paul, and are averaging 109.5 points on 50.6 percent shooting in their last four games after averaging 97.3 points in their previous six.

“We were just running, playing an up-tempo type game, pushing it, playing defense,” said Rose, who set that tempo. “We need to do that more often.”

Rose scored 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting and dished out six assists on Wednesday. The top overall pick of the 2008 draft is averaging 19.7 points on 60.9 percent shooting in his last three games.

With Wednesday’s victory, the Bulls improved to 4-2 on a seven-game road trip. They have not won five games on a trip since winning five on a six-game trip from Jan. 28-Feb. 5, 1997.

Dallas, meanwhile, has won three straight home games, and 15 of 18 at the American Airlines Center after dropping its first four games of the season there.

The Mavericks, who open a four-game homestand Saturday, have also won three straight home games over the Bulls, and 10 of the last 11 meetings in Dallas.

The Mavs, though, lost to the Bulls at the United Center 98-91 on Nov. 13.

Dirk Nowitzki finished with just 12 points on 5-of-17 shooting in the loss in Chicago, and has endured two straight rough outings.

Nowitzki scored 14 points on 6-of-20 from the field on Thursday, and has totaled just 30 points on 11-of-33 shooting in his last two games. He was averaging 29.5 points on 24-of-35 shooting in his previous two.

Chicago’s Ben Gordon led the Bulls with a season-high 35 points in the win over the Mavericks earlier this season, and has scored at least 25 in three of his last four games against them.

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Saturday, Feb 7