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Bench Leads the Way as Bulls Beat Mavericks 117-101

The second unit scored a season-high 61 bench points as the Bulls beat the Mavericks for the second time this season.

Bulls Mavericks
Photo: AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Summary

The Chicago Bulls defeated the Dallas Mavericks for the second time this season as the bench scored a season-high 61 points. The Bulls’ reserves outscored the Mavericks bench by 39 points and stepped up in a big way during a low-scoring game for both Zach LaVine (ten points) and Coby White (zero points, four assists, one turnover).

Lauri Markkanen led the way for the Bulls with a double-double of 29 points alongside his ten rebounds. Garrett Temple and Thaddeus Young were the top performers off the Bulls’ bench, scoring 21 and 15 points respectively.

For Dallas, Luka Doncic achieved yet another triple-double with a stat line of 36 points, 16 rebounds, and 15 assists.

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The Setup

The Bulls came into Sunday’s contest looking to end a four-game losing streak as they faced a Mavericks team they beat back on January 3rd at the United Center. This time, however, Luka Doncic was suited up and available to play.

The Mavs were looking to rebound from a loss of their own, as they fell short against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, losing 112-109.

Ryan Arcidiacano returned from a long spell on the COVID-19 list while Tomas Satoransky and Chandler Hutchison continued to miss time.

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Beautiful From Bulls Bench

Similar to past games, Wendell Carter Jr. was the one that got the Bulls off the mark. The third-year player scored six of the Bulls’ first seven points as he finished the first quarter with six points and four rebounds.

But it was the Bulls bench that shined the brightest in the first half. The Bulls fell behind early before a 20-9 run to end the first quarter propelled them to a four-point lead heading into the second quarter.

Daniel Gafford and Thaddeus Young led the way during that stretch, scoring seven and six points in the first half, respectively. But the key man off the bench was Garrett Temple.

One of the newest Bulls players scored 15 points in the second quarter, finishing the first half with 17 points on 7/9 shooting, including a couple of makes from beyond the arc. Ryan Arcidiacano also ran the point effectively in his return from the COVID-19 list, dishing out four assists in the first half.

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Doncic Does His Thing, But Limited in Second Half

The Bulls did have a 67-52 lead after two quarters but the advantage could have been much bigger if it wasn’t for the Mavericks’ main man, Luka Doncic.

Doncic put together a phenomenal first half as he scored 30 points on 11/19 shooting. The former Euroleague MVP also hit six three-point shots to single-handedly keep the Mavs in the game.

Taking away Luka’s performance, the Bulls’ defense performed very well. The Mavericks only shot 31% (9/29) from the field without Luka in the first half. Furthermore, the Bulls did eventually figure Doncic out as the Dallas point guard was limited to just six points in the second half on 2/11 shooting.

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Team Effort Leads to Victory

The Bulls led for the entirety of the second half but the Mavericks wouldn’t go away at first. The third and some of the fourth quarter was a back-and-forth affair but the Bulls weathered a couple of storms to keep the Mavericks at arm’s length as six players scored in double figures.

Lauri Markkanen looked aggressive throughout as he led the Bulls with 29 points. Temple scored 21 points overall, a season-high for him, while Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young added a combined 29 points off the bench.

But what was also very impressive was the team effort in a low-scoring performance from Zach LaVine. The Bulls’ leading scorer had a season-low ten points but contributed 10 assists, the most he’s had in a Bulls uniform.

After such a devastating loss to the Thunder on Friday night, it was great to see the Bulls not allow Dallas to fully get back into the game as the Mavericks only could cut the lead to nine points in the second half.

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What’s On Tap Next

The Bulls (5-8) head back to the United Center tomorrow to take on the new-look Houston Rockets (4-7), who are fresh off a loss to the San Antonio Spurs. Be sure to tune in to the Bulls On Tap podcast for postgame shows, analysis, and commentary.


Chicago born and raised. Cubs and Bulls die hard. Love the Hawks and Bears too. You can usually find me drinking beers at AJ Hudson's watching West Ham soccer in the Premier League or hiking on a mountain somewhere.

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