Mavs try to ride Bulls to victory

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls finally return home from their long circus road trip, but things won't be easy for their homecoming as they face the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday night at the United Center.

The Bulls went 4-3 on their extended sojourn to accommodate the greatest show on Earth taking residency in the Windy City. The last two stops on the trek netted victories in Boston and Brooklyn.

Jimmy Butler had 26 points, Pau Gasol scored 25 with 13 rebounds and the Bulls led for the final 39 1/2 minutes on the way to a 102-84 win over the Nets on Sunday.

"We just kept going," said Butler. "We didn't let up and we kept playing defense and kept getting to the free throw line."

Derrick Rose added 14 points in 26 minutes for Chicago and Nikola Mirotic had 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Aaron Brooks chipped in 11 in a reserve role.

The Bulls prevailed despite committing 20 turnovers on Sunday. They shot 49.3 percent from the floor, but at least they get to come home, a place they haven't been since a Nov. 15 loss to the Indiana Pacers.

Chicago hits the road immediately with a trip to Charlotte on Wednesday, but plays its next three at home after that with visits from the Golden State Warriors, Nets and Portland Trail Blazers on tap.

The Mavericks, who lead the NBA in scoring at 109.1 ppg, will play game three of a four-game roadie on Tuesday. So far, Dallas is 2-0 with wins over the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers.

On Saturday, the Mavs escaped Philadelphia with a 110-103 victory over the hapless 76ers.

Tyson Chandler had 20 points, 13 rebounds and four steals to lead the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavs. The future Hall of Famer sat for rest.

Dallas beat the Sixers by 53 points earlier this season, but took care of the rematch.

Monta Ellis posted 18 points, five assists and three swipes and Chandler Parsons tallied 17 points, six rebounds and six assists for Dallas, which has won three in a row and nine of its last 11 games.

"It was a grind all the way and I'm proud of the guys for the way they stuck together," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said.

A K.J. McDaniels right wing triple pulled Philly within 98-94 midway through the fourth, but Ellis responded with consecutive buckets and the Sixers never got any closer.

The Mavericks close the road trip on Wednesday with a stop in Milwaukee.

The two teams have split the last four meetings, but Dallas is 2-4 in its last six stops in Chicago.