Bulls

Rose scores 25, but Bulls come up short vs. Mavericks

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Rose scores 25, but Bulls come up short vs. Mavericks

DALLAS (AP) — J.J. Barea pulled up from a couple of feet behind the 3-point line just after returning to the game and hit the last of his five straight from long range in the first half.

The diminutive guard simply has that can't-miss feeling right now.

Barea made a career-high seven from beyond the arc and finished with 26 points coming off his first 30-point game, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 118-111 Saturday night in a game delayed 30 minutes by tornadoes in the Dallas area.

Starting for the injured Deron Williams for the second straight game, Barea made his first seven from long range and is 12 of 15 going back to an overtime win against Brooklyn on Wednesday, when he had a career-high 32 points.

"When you're in a good rhythm, you basically try to look for more shots," Barea said. "But today they were good ones. With the ball screens on top, I just kept working until I was open, and it worked out."

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 25 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, but had a key turnover before getting called for a 5-second violation when Chicago had a chance to tie in the final 11 seconds.

"I think I lost this game with the turnovers," Rose said. "We were down to such a critical point in the game. I feel bad. I feel like I lost this game for the team."

Dirk Nowitzki scored 16 points in his first home game since passing Shaquille O'Neal on the career scoring list, and Zaza Pachulia had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Barea was 7 for 8 from beyond the arc.

Nikola Mirotic had 23 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for the Bulls, who were trying for back-to-back wins a night after winning at Oklahoma City. The Mavericks had a mini two-day Christmas break.

Raymond Felton broke a late tie with two free throws after a strong drive to the basket, and then tipped a pass from Rose that Nowitzki grabbed and threw ahead to Chandler Parsons. After stopping at the basket, Parsons handed off to Wesley Matthews for a layup and a 112-108 lead.

After Rose missed a runner that he had success with earlier in the game, Felton made two more free throws for a 114-108 Dallas lead with 38 seconds left.

Jimmy Butler hit a 3-pointer that bounced around the rim, and the Bulls got another chance after a Dallas miss. But with Felton defending him, Rose couldn't get the ball in. Felton had six of his 13 points on free throws in the final 1:07.

"I just thought our guys' collective will carried them in this game," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "We got great contributions from every position."

Chicago's Pau Gasol had 18 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, and Butler scored 17 points with a game-high eight assists.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.