Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/8

Game 1: Friday, November 8th
Game 2: Saturday, November 30th

Bulls 90

(4-12, 1-10 away)

Mavericks 103


    Coverage: FSSW

    7:30 PM ET, November 30, 2002

    American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

    1 2 3 4 T
    CHI 21 25 22 2290
    DAL 31 26 20 26103

    Top Performers

    Chicago: J. Rose 31 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Dallas: S. Nash 18 Pts, 6 Reb, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Van Exel's return sparks Mavericks over Bulls

    DALLAS (AP) -- While the Dallas Mavericks were winning, Nick Van Exel was waiting. Impatiently.

    Nick Van Exel
    Van Exel

    Van Exel was recovering from knee surgery while his teammates were challenging for the best start in NBA history. He made it back one game after the streak ended at 14, and promptly helped Dallas return to its winning ways in a 103-90 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

    Having worked on his shot and kept up his conditioning during a nine-game absence, Van Exel contributed 17 points and seven assists in 29 pain-free minutes. It was a lot better than the cheerleading he had been doing, especially when the team was on the road.

    "It's definitely good to be back out with the fellows,'' he said. "It was tough yelling at the TV.''

    Several of the Mavericks described this game as tough, although it hardly showed.

    Playing for the first time since their 14-0 start was stopped in Indiana, Dallas never trailed and used an 11-0 run to remain in control after Chicago got within five late in the third quarter.

    The Mavs improved to 8-0 at home and gave Don Nelson his 200th victory as their coach.

    The Bulls, who practiced on Thanksgiving after a bad game in Boston the night before, switched starting lineups for the first time this season, going with Eddie Robinson and Donyell Marshall instead of Eddy Curry and Trenton Hassell. It made little difference as Chicago lost its sixth in a row and 10th straight on the road.

    "It was an ugly game, but it's big to recover from our first loss of the season,'' said Dirk Nowitzki, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

    Van Exel played the first six games this season with a piece of bone floating in his right knee that at times locked up his leg. He decided to have arthroscopic surgery in early November rather than let it linger. He said once doctors removed the problem, they also repaired a tear behind it.

    "It's not a new knee, but it feels better,'' he said. "It's like night and day.''

    He announced his return by hitting three 3-pointers in the second quarter and making two nice layups during the big run that sealed the victory. He capped his game by swishing a jump hook in the lane between several defenders.

    Having Van Exel back means less minutes for Steve Nash, which is a good thing because he wants to conserve energy for the playoffs. He celebrated his backup's return by shooting 9-of-10, missing only a 3-pointer, for 18 points. He also had seven assists.

    "I got to the basket a lot and made some layups,'' he said. "Sometimes you're going to have nights like that.

    Also back was Raef LaFrentz, who'd been down since the second game because of an ankle injury. He had five points and one rebound in 15 minutes.

    "It felt like it was going to be when you're off a month,'' LaFrentz said.

    The game was stopped for about seven minutes with 1:10 left in the second quarter when an emergency alarm went off at American Airlines Center. More than half the fans filed into the concourse before officials announced it was false.

    The Bulls seemed to get a kick out of it.

    "I knew (Mavs owner) Mark Cuban was not going to let anything happen to us,'' said Jalen Rose, who led Chicago with 31 points.

    "What a bizarre thing,'' Bulls coach Bill Cartwright said. "But if you've got to go, what better place but on the court.''

    Rose had 24 of his 31 points in the second half and hit a career-best five 3-pointers, missing only one. Chicago was 8-of-18 on 3s one game after going 1-for-15.

    Marshall had 20 points and nine rebounds, and Jay Williams had 11 points and four assists.

    The Bulls were so bad at times in this that even official Hue Hollins had to stifle a giggle following one goofy play.

    Rose and Tyson Chandler collided going for a rebound, with Rose catching it and Chandler falling out of bounds. Rose, holding the ball, reached over to help up Chandler while he was still off the court, resulting in an out-of-bounds violation.

    "Turnovers hurt us,'' Cartwright said, "and some of them were silly.''

    Game notes

    Dallas has beaten Chicago 10 straight times, six in a row at home. ... The Bulls didn't lead in either game against the Mavs this season. ... Nelson, the third-winningest coach in NBA history, is 200-178 (.529) in six seasons with the Mavs. Of the seven coaches in team history, Dick Motta is the only one with more wins (329) and John MacLeod has the only higher winning percentage (.549). ... Eduardo Najera, one of Dallas' top reserves, didn't play because of a sore left knee. He's having an MRI to make sure it's nothing serious.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 103
    FGM-FGA 34-88 (.386) 41-82 (.500)
    3PM-3PA 8-18 (.444) 9-21 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 14-21 (.667) 12-16 (.750)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-50 8-46
    Assists 17 26
    Turnovers 19 17
    Steals 5 10
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 2 8
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (2/0) 28 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Jalen Rose Rose
    Points: 31
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Steve Nash Nash
    Points: 18
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0