DALLAS – They’ve only played 12 quarters of basketball, but already the Bulls have developed some tendencies.
For one, Zach LaVine continues to shine in the role of primary scorer for Fred Hoiberg’s team, keeping up his recent stretch in the team’s third game of the season Monday night in Dallas.
But another pattern has also continued – poor defense in general and down the stretch that leads to defeat.
Both scenarios played out against the Mavericks at American Airlines Arena as the Bulls got another huge effort from LaVine yet lacked the closing power to bring home a victory. Instead, Dallas sent the Bulls to a 115-109 defeat, their third in three games on the young season.
LaVine reached the 30-point mark for a third-straight time, this time getting 34, but the Mavericks broke the game open in the fourth quarter, taking as much as a ten-point lead. That held up down the stretch as the Bulls defense couldn’t come up with the major stop to ignite a comeback. as six Dallas players reached double digits.
The 115 points allowed were the lowest of the three games for the Bulls, but it wasn’t enough for the win. Not even the return of Kris Dunn to the lineup (9 points, 7 assists) was enough to get the defense right to put the team in the win column.
For Hoiberg and his team, the search continues for that first win and will continue till Wednesday when they host the Hornets for the first of two games this week. Already patterns are developing for the group – one that’s good and another that is not.