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Game Thread #44: Bulls at Dallas Mavericks

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Tribune preview says it all:

From Tyson Chandler's contagious enthusiasm to their tightfisted defense, the Bulls carry plenty of momentum into their seven-game trip, which starts Tuesday in Dallas.

They are coming off their best eight-day stretch of the season with four straight victories, but all of them came against middling to poor teams--Indiana, Toronto, Washington and Atlanta.

Now comes the real test. Over the next two weeks, the Bulls will play some of the best teams from the Western Conference, including Dallas, Phoenix, Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Even lesser opponents, like New Orleans/Oklahoma City, Sacramento and Utah, are formidable foes, especially for the erratic Bulls.

"It seems like our guys are settling into the rotation, but we also know that this trip is brutal," Bulls general manager John Paxson said Monday.

Skiles may be trying to downplay the significance of this roadtrip, but if they only get 1 or 2 wins their playoff chances will get very slim.

The first stop will be the toughest, going into Dallas. In their meeting at Chicago, Dirk went nutso, scoring 35 and literally knocking Hinrich and Deng out of the game. Maybe the rejuvenated Chandler can help check him. They're healthier now (although Devin Harris is out), and have won 8 in a row. eek.