The shorthanded Chicago Bulls defeated the Dallas Mavericks 82-77 on Thursday night in the United Center. 

It was the third straight game without their main low-post weapon, Carlos Boozer—compounding the woes of the missing Joakim Noah.  But Derrick Rose led the Bulls to their second victory in those last three games despite the lack of front-court depth.

Former Bulls center, Tyson Chandler, had a nice outing for the Mavs, contributing 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots.  He and Nowitzki turned a nine-point halftime deficit into a four-point lead heading into the final 12 minutes, after holding the Bulls to a season-low 12 points in the third quarter. 

Then there was the fourth quarter…

Derrick Rose scored 10 points in the final period to lead the Bulls back and help put Dallas away for good.  He finished with 26 points despite a sub-par 9-of-28 shooting night from the field. 

However, it was the Bulls’ rebounding that ultimately made the difference in the game.  Despite missing Noah and Boozer, Chicago pounded Dallas on the boards (51-41), led by Luol Deng’s 12 and Kurt Thomas’ 11 rebounds.

Chicago has now swept the season series, 2-0, against Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks. 

The injury bug for the Bulls has not held them from being mentioned with the likes of the elite teams in the NBA.  They currently sit at 29-14 and are only four games behind the Boston Celtics and just one behind the Miami Heat.  The team has won 13 of their last 19 games since Noah had right thumb surgery. 

And it will only help that five of the next six games for the Bulls will be against sub-.500 teams.

The Bulls’ next game will be on Saturday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will be seeking just their second win in their last 26 games.

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