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Bulls vs. Mavs -- Must-see TV


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- Every Bulls home game is an event in this city of broad shoulders, a must-see for loyal fans who regularly fill the United Center to capacity

But Saturday night's tip-off isn't just another home game in late April. This one carries serious playoffs consequences for both protagonists and the action will be broadcast by TV giant ESPN.

It's the Chicago Bulls versus the defending NBA champion Dallas Mavericks at the Bulls arena also known as The House Michael Jordan Built.

At stake for the 47-16 Bulls is their standing as the No.1 playoffs seed in the Eastern Conference, a hold that is now being seriously threatened by the surging Miami Heat, who beat the Bulls on Thursday and narrowed the two rivals' gap at 1.5 games.

The Mavericks have already clinched a playoffs berth in the hotly-contested Western Conference, but with a 35-28 won-lost record the world champs are a mere No.6 seed. With a win, however, they kick the doors wide open for the possibility of moving up to a No.5 seed.

Although they lost a chunk of their championship roster to free agency --- Tyson Chandler went to the New York Knicks, JJ Barea is now with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Caron Butler migrated to the Los Angeles Clippers --- the Mavs are still a force to reckon with, a deadly quintet that averages 96.1 points per game this season.

And, yes, Dallas still has one of the deadliest weapons in the NBA --- sweet-shooting Dirk Nowitzki. The 7-foot- German, who was last June's NBA Finals MVP, is norming 21.7 points per game this season.

The Bulls, on the other hand, have Derrick Rose at the helm. Unfortunately, the reigning league MVP has missed 26 games due to a plague of injuries. The 6-foot-3 sparkplug will likely sit out in this clash of NBA titans, no thanks to an ailing right foot.

CJ Watson is expected to start in Rose's stead. And without their superstar, the Bulls will look for offensive firepower from versatile Luol Deng, bruiser Carlos Boozer, 3-point specialist Kyle Korver and the streaky John Lucas III.

The Bulls' highly-regarded Bench Mob and their team's tenacious defense are also vital keys that will help hold off the Mavericks. (Fakhouri Amjid)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Fakhouri Amjid.


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