Dallas At Chicago
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
The healthy return of Jimmy Butler is doing wonders for the Chicago Bulls' win total, and the star swingman will try to lead his team to a third straight victory when they host the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday. Butler was plagued by an illness going around the locker room and sat out two losses before returning on Saturday and guiding the Bulls to back-to-back wins.
Butler did not lack energy after dealing with the illness and played at least 38 minutes in both ends of the back-to-back, scoring 28 points against New Orleans in Friday's win and burying key jumpers down the stretch in Saturday's 108-104 triumph at Memphis. "In Jimmy's case, it doesn't matter if he's 10-for-10 or 1-for-10, he's going to step up with confidence in that fourth quarter and try to take over the game with supreme confidence," Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters. "And that's a great luxury to have, when you have a guy that you know you put the ball in his hands and he can close a game for you." The Mavericks are missing that sort of closer with Harrison Barnes just starting to find his way as a go-to- scorer, though veteran Dirk Nowitzki is picking up his level of play as he gets further away from an Achilles injury that robbed him of over a month. "I still feel I've got some ways to improve," Nowitzki told reporters after scoring 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting in Sunday's 98-87 win over Minnesota. "I feel sometimes a little sluggish on certain moves, on certain push-offs, getting from one spot to another, especially when there's a turnover - the quick reaction play where somebody's coming down the middle."
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (13-27): Dallas earned back-to-back wins against two of the teams it is fighting off to avoid the basement in the Western Conference - Phoenix and Minnesota - and is getting an uptick in performance from shooting guard Wesley Matthews. The veteran averaged 6.7 points on 7-of-31 shooting during a three-game slide before scoring 18 points in Thursday's win over Phoenix and following it up with a team-high 19 in Sunday's triumph. "That brand of basketball is fun," Matthews told reporters after the Mavericks handed out 21 assists on 36 made field goals Sunday. "Everybody had energy, and you can feel it in the crowd. We haven't felt that in a long time, and we were moving the ball well."
ABOUT THE BULLS (21-21): Butler was only in a position to take over the game late on Sunday because reserve small forward Doug McDermott exploded early and finished with a career-high 31 points on 9-of-16 shooting in 33 minutes. McDermott failed to score in double figures in any of the previous four games and was a combined 7-of-31 from the floor in that span. "He's too good of a shooter to stay in a slump," Hoiberg told reporters of McDermott. "He puts too much work in, too much time in. He cares, obviously. He takes it hard when he doesn't have a good shooting game. ... So, I give Doug all the credit in the world for hanging with it."
1. Mavericks PG Deron Williams is 7-of-10 from 3-point range in the last two games.
2. Chicago PF Nikola Mirotic (illness) sat out the last four games and remains day-to-day.
3. Matthews and Butler each scored 26 points in the first meeting but Dallas pulled out the 107-82 home win on Dec. 3.
PREDICTION: Bulls 106, Mavericks 96
Stats and Records
Chicago Off vs
101.5 Points For
100.5 Points Against