So if you didn't realize this game today was at 1 p.m. CT, you're not alone. I just realized myself a few days ago that the Bulls had a matinee against the Mavs, which actually was a nice little surprise because it allows me to then focus on some sweet Elite 8 action later.
The Bulls will try and ride their momentum from the stupendous Heat win into Dallas, where they will be looking for their first four-game winning streak all season. It's likely that the Bulls will once again be without Derrick Rose, Richard Hamilton, Joakim Noah and Marco Belinelli, but that didn't matter against the Heat, so hopefully it won't matter against the Mavs.
Dallas has been playing much better of late, having inserted themselves back into the playoff conversation by winning 10 of their last 15 games. However, they did get smoked by the Pacers in their last game, a team the Bulls recently beat while short-handed. Although David West did return from an injury, so that does mean something.
O.J. Mayo is a bit banged up for the Mavs with a sore shoulder, but he should be able to play on Saturday. After a hot start to the season, Mayo has slowed down a bit in the scoring department, but he has managed to remain somewhat efficient, at least by his standards. The Bulls did shut Mayo down in the first meeting this season, and I'm assuming Jimmy Butler will attempt to do the same this afternoon.
Speaking of that first meeting, the Bulls had no problems dismantling the Mavs back in November, cruising to a 101-78 victory (that was without Dirk). Luol Deng had 22 points to lead the way, and the Bulls held the Mavs to a woeful 34.6 percent from the field. Chicago also handily won the rebounding battle 44-30, and even without Noah, they should have an edge on the boards again. Dallas is one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, so look for the Bulls to take advantage on the glass.
You never know what to expect from this Bulls team these days, so they could easily lay an egg after pouring all that emotion into that Heat victory. A letdown seems almost guaranteed, but hopefully the Bulls can remain focused and pull out a win. Game is on CSN Chicago.