The scene moves to the United Center tonight where the Mavs, 88-83 losers in the first meeting, might be getting the Bulls at just the right time. Bulls center Joakim Noah is sidelined after surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. Noah had 17 boards in the first game to go with 10 points and five assists. Carlos Boozer will likely miss his third consecutive game with a sprained ankle. He also missed the first meeting in Dallas.
Between Boozer and Noah, that's 21.8 front-line rebounds sitting on the bench.
However, Taj Gibson will be in the lineup. The 6-foot-9 forward is good rebounder, not tremendous, averaging 5.7 in 23.3 minutes a game. But, he played as though he was Moses Malone in the last game. He pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds and bounced all over the floor to nab eight of the Bulls' 20 offensive boards as Chicago benefitted from a 25-8 edge in second-chance points.
"They kicked our tails on the boards," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said, "so that will be an emphasis."