Ben Gordon scored 35 points and the Chicago Bulls roared back from an early 19-point deficit to send the Dallas Mavericks to their fourth straight loss, 98-91 Thursday night.
Luol Deng added 20 points and rookie Derrick Rose had 14 of his 16 in the third quarter for the Bulls, who were booed early in the game by the crowd at the United Center.
All was forgiven by the fourth quarter, when the Bulls pulled away.
Josh Howard, returning after missing two games with sore wrist, led Dallas with 21 points and added 11 rebounds. Erick Dampier scored 16 and pulled down 18 boards.
Dallas blew out to a 24-5 lead less than six minutes into the game before Chicago recovered for a one-point halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Rose’s play helped the Bulls take control and go up 78-70 with a quarter left.
Chicago’s Larry Hughes, making his regular-season debut after dislocating his shoulder in a preseason game last month, hit a jumper, made a 3-pointer and then came up with a steal in the fourth quarter that led to Tyrus Thomas’ follow-up slam. That dunk, two free throws by Thomas, a drive by Gordon and a jumper by Deng completed an 11-0 run that made it 96-79 with 6:08 left.
Dallas cut it to seven with a minute left on Howard’s free throw, but missed several shots to pull closer.
Dallas came out running and threatened to blow the Bulls out in the first quarter, building the 24-5 lead with a quick burst.
Howard had 11 points and the Mavericks hit eight of their first nine shots. The Bulls were flat offensively, missing 12 straight shots after Drew Gooden’s jumper in the opening minute.
But just as quickly, the Bulls found their rhythm, reeling off 13 straight points behind seven from Gordon, cutting the lead to four. Chicago ended up trailing by 10 after one quarter when the Mavs’ DeSagana Diop tipped in a shot just before the buzzer.
The Bulls shot 28 percent in the opening quarter to 55 percent for the Mavs. And strangely enough, those percentages were reversed in the second quarter—55 percent for Chicago and 28 percent for the Mavs.
With Chicago down by 12 in the second quarter, Deng led the Bulls on a 22-9 run with 12 points, hitting a late driving basket for a 51-50 halftime lead.
A 15-6 spurt to start the second half gave the Bulls a 66-56 lead as Rose scored eight.