The Chicago Bulls beat the Dallas Mavericks by a score of 118-108 in an empty United Center on Sunday night.
Zach LaVine led the way for the Bulls, scoring a season-high 39 points, 21 of which came in the first quarter.
Jalen Brunson did a great job filling in for Luka Doncic, who was ruled out before the game with a left thigh contusion. Brunson — a Chicagoland native and alumnus of Stevenson High School — led the Mavericks with 31 points on 11/17 shooting.
The Bulls were missing a few players of their own due to COVID-19. Both Chandler Hutchison and Tomas Satoransky have tested positive for the virus in recent days. Lauri Markkanen and Ryan Arcidiacano are continuing to quarantine due to league COVID-19 protocols. Kristaps Porzingis also missed the game for Dallas.
It was an even game throughout as there were 20 lead changes and 13 ties. LaVine got the Bulls off to a hot start, scoring a career-high 21 points in the first quarter. Brunson was perfect from the field in the opening 12 minutes, scoring 12 points.
Max Kleber (16 points, five rebounds) scored a quick five points in the second quarter to help the Mavericks slightly pull away from the Bulls until a mini-run at the end of the half got Chicago back within one point, 60-59.
The back-and-forth affair continued as neither team held a lead larger than four points at any points during the third quarter and the Bulls took a slight advantage into the final quarter, 84-81.
However, the Bulls began to slowly pull away in the final frame and Coby White was an important part of that performance. White scored 15 of his 23 points in the final quarter, including two three-pointers in the last few minutes of the game and two key free-throws to seal the deal.
Sunday night’s performance marked the Bulls’ first win at the United Center this season and their third win in the last four games overall, pulling their record to 3-4. The Mavericks have stumbled out of the gate, falling to 2-4 with the loss.
What’s On Tap Next?
The Bulls hit the road once again for a four-game west coast swing. Damion Lillard will be waiting at the Rose Garden as the Blazers host the Bulls on Tuesday. Tip-off is set for 9:30 PM CT. Be sure to check out the Bulls On Tap podcast for further Chicago basketball analysis and commentary.