By Mark Maxwell
Just three days removed from Christmas, it was a silent night in the Bulls locker room following a 105-83 loss at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks.
In fact, it was a rather quiet night in the stands too, at least throughout the first three quarters. The rowdiest bunch in the stadium might have been the seven players on the Mavericks bench, as they witnessed two of their teammates, Dirk Nowitzki and Jae Crowder, complete four-point plays in the first half. The Mavericks' blistering shooting performance from beyond the arc contributed to their 86-56 lead going into the third quarter.
The fans did eventually get a reason to cheer as Joakim Noah led the surging Bulls on a 16-0 run to start the fourth quarter, scoring 10 of his 20 points in the final period. However, it was too little, too late as the Bulls never came closer to their opponent than 14 points. Noah lead the Bulls in points, rebounds and a plus/minus at -4. He also helped the Bulls outscore the Mavericks in the paint, but Noah didn’t find any solace in his personal performance.
“That doesn’t mean anything,” Noah said. “We just got to move on. That’s not what makes anyone in this locker room happy. We just want to win basketball games right now. You know, we dug ourselves into a hole. We got to play with an edge every night. We got to be ready to play and we will.”
With tonight’s loss, the Bulls fell to 1-8 against Western Conference teams this season. The Eastern Conference is a collective 44-97 against their foes in the West, and without Miami or Indiana’s help, the rest of the Eastern Conference is a woeful 30-94 during inter-conference play.