DALLAS -- For anyone who cares to listen, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has repeated several times that the Chicago Bulls his team blew out by 22 points in Chicago two months ago is not the same team the Mavs will face tonight at 7:30 at American Airlines Center.
The Mavs drilled the Bulls 105-83 on Dec. 28 in a game Chicago played without one of its star players, Luol Deng, who had an injured left Achilles tendon at the time. Then on Jan. 7 the Bulls surprised many when they traded Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Before the trade the Bulls were 14-18. Since the trade they're 17-8, including wins in seven of their past eight games.
"They’ve been playing well,'' Carlisle said after Friday's shootaround at the AAC. "Since they traded Deng they realized the team that they had is the team they had, and they've just been getting more and more together as a group.
"They don’t turn it over much, they rebound the heck out of it and they’re a good 3-point shooting team. And if you turn them loose on 3s, they win. That’s how they’ve been really in recent games.''
The Mavs are just hoping to match physical fire with physical fire with the Bulls tonight.
"It’s a physical game, it’s a mental and physical grind that we’ve got to be ready to take on,'' Carlisle said. "It’s a playoff type game.''
-- Dwain Price
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