How it happened: After Chicago took a 17-15 lead with 3:33 left in the first quarter, Dallas battled back in a hurry. Dallas went on a dominating 46-17 run from that point of the game through the end of the first half to a commanding 61-34 lead into halftime.
Both Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis struggled in the first half as they combined to go 6-of-20 from the field, but put together respectable nights. Ellis had a team-high 22 points on 9-of-19 shooting, and Nowitzki had 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting. As those two struggled in the first half, Vince Carter responded with another solid outing. He had 14 of his 18 points in the first half. Shawn Marion had his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Already without Derrick Rose, Chicago also had to go without forward Luol Deng. He sat because of a left Achilles injury. Joakim Noah led the Bulls in the losing effort with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Dallas led by as many as 32 points. Dallas has blown leads of 17, 18 and 19 this season, and Chicago tried to force a sweat with an 18-0 run during the fourth quarter, but it didn't have enough time and energy to get closer than 14 points on two different occasions: with 6:30 left in the fourth and then with 3:50 left.
The Mavericks shot 53 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. They had a strong defensive effort as they held Chicago to 43 percent shooting from the field and 18 percent shooting from 3-point range.
What it means: The Mavericks started their three-game trip on a great note. They'll play their final game of the calendar year against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday. Minnesota has won the last two games against Dallas as well as six of the past nine.
Play of the game: Within a span of two minutes and 19 seconds, Dallas had two four-point plays. Nowitzki was fouled on a made 3-point shot from the top of the key with 10:49 left in the second quarter and hit the free throw. Jae Crowder was fouled at the 8:30 mark after hitting a 3-point shot on the left corner and made the free throw.
Stat of the night: According to Mavericks statistician Dave Keeney, the game against Chicago marked only the second time in franchise history that Dallas had two four-point plays in a single game. Mark Aguirre had both on Nov. 25, 1981, in a game against the Denver Nuggets.