Mavericks 106, Bulls 93

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CHICAGO (AP)—A first-half breather gave Michael Finley some extra energy, and he helped carry the weary Dallas Mavericks to their seventh straight win.

Finley, a former prep star in suburban Chicago, had 17 of his 23 points in the second half Friday night as the Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 106-93.

“Coach rested me in the first half a bit and I guess it paid off because I was still fresh at the end of the game and was able to get my legs under me on a lot of shots in the second half,” Finley said.

“I’s always fun to come home, being a veteran. Come home and get a win.”

Finley played just 12 minutes in the first half—the Mavs didn’t arrive in Chicago until 4 a.m. Friday after beating the Lakers late Thursday in Dallas— and then went on a tear in the third quarter.

After Chicago used a 13-0 run behind three 3-pointers from rookie Kirk Hinrich to chop a 16-point deficit to three, Finley went to work.

He hit two 3-pointers, another jumper and got two points on a goaltending call against Eddy Curry. Finley’s 10-point outburst and a 3-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer by Josh Howard capped a 15-6 spurt and put the Mavs up 84-72.

Finley hit another 3-pointer to beat the shot clock and spark a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter as Dallas’ lead went to 19.

“He makes so many tough shots and he made some open ones, too,” said Hinrich, who led the Bulls with a career-high 23 points.

Dirk Nowitzki had 26 points to lead the Mavericks, who were depleted by flu (Marquis Daniels), injury (Tony Delk) and a bad tooth (Danny Fortson).

“I thought some of the guys played a little tired,” Mavs coach Don Nelson said. “(Antoine) Walker and Dirk both played 40 minutes last night and that makes it tough to come back. We had only eight guys available tonight. We had to get a performance off the bench to be effective.”

Shawn Bradley provided that with 13 points and some good inside defense.

Curry got the start of center, made five of his first six shots and had 10 points in the first eight minutes of the game. But after a long session on the bench, he didn’t score the rest of the half after getting just five additional minutes. He finished with 12 points and much of the credit for his falloff went to the long-armed defense of Bradley.

“We knew we didn’t want him (Curry) to have a big game. When he does, it goes well for the Bulls,” Bradley said.

“He just reached around Eddy and punched balls away,” Chicago coach Scott Skiles said of Bradley. “He has made a career of changing the game, being active in there.”

The Mavs’ bench helped Dallas outscore the Bulls 26-14 in the second quarterfor a 54-46 halftime lead as Travis Best and Bradley had six points each.

Notes

Kendall Gill strained his right Achilles’ tendon late in the game. “I understand he’s out for a while,” Skiles said. … The Mavericks have beaten the Bulls 12 straight times. … Dallas’ Walker scored just four points. …Hinrich also had a career-high 11 rebounds. He made five 3-pointers.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Dallas
D. Nowitzki D. Nowitzki
10-23,  26 Pts
11 Rebs, 5 Assists
 Chicago
K. Hinrich K. Hinrich
9-18,  23 Pts
11 Rebs, 5 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists