Rapid Reaction: Bulls 93, Mavs 83

April, 21, 2012
4/21/12
9:42
PM CT
Friedell By Nick Friedell
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night at the United Center.

How it happened: The Bulls had five players in double figures, and played solid defense most of the night. Luol Deng led the way with 22 points and six rebounds. Rip Hamilton bounced back after a poor performance in Miami, scoring 19 points. Joakim Noah added 14 rebounds. The Bulls win and the Miami Heat's loss means that the Bulls' magic number to clinch the best record in the Eastern Conference now stands at one.

What it means: Playing with Derrick Rose for the first time in a week, the Bulls' offense still looked rusty. The good news for Tom Thibodeau is that Rose was back on the floor and setting up the offense for his teammates. He still doesn't look to be close to 100 percent -- he may not be for the rest of the year -- but his mere presence gives his teammates the confidence they need heading into the last week of the season. Rose has another week to get himself back up to speed and work his way into an offensive rhythm. Aside from Rose' health, the problem for the Bulls is that their offense continues to look lethargic at times. They shot 45 percent from the field, but they aren't playing to the level they set for themselves earlier in the season. It's a conundrum that Thibodeau must work his team out of before the playoffs begin next weekend.

Stat of the night: After going 2-for-16 from 3-point land on Thursday, the Bulls went 9-for-20 from beyond the arc against the Mavericks.

Deng’s charge: With his team leading by six points with a little more than two minutes to play, Deng scored five in a row, including a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:55 left to play. It was the dagger shot the Bulls needed to close the game.

What's next: The Bulls take on the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Indianapolis.

Nick Friedell | email

Chicago Bulls beat reporter
Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
21.9 3.3 1.6 39.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 11.7
AssistsD. Rose 5.1
StealsJ. Butler 1.6
BlocksP. Gasol 2.0