CHICAGO -- How it happened: The Mavericks rested Jason Kidd and Jason Terry in a meaningless game and the Bulls brought back Derrick Rose in a critical game to their pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the East.
And after one quarter of play, the Mavs shot 21 percent, turned it over four times and scored eight points and trailed, to their good fortune, by 11. Hey, give Dallas credit, they kept scrapping after getting down 25-10 against a surprisingly sloppy Bulls squad that needed the win to maintain its shrinking lead over Miami for the No. 1 seed in the East.
Dallas got it down to two points in the second quarter and one point in the third when Delonte West's jumper with three minutes to go capped a 7-0 run to give the Mavs a 56-55 for their first and only lead of the game.
It didn't last long. Rip Hamilton, who killed Dallas with 19 points, drained a floater and then a West turnover led to two Luol Deng free throws that got the Bulls back up by three, 59-56. A Yoakim Noah offensive rebound and assist to Deng made it 61-56 with 1:28 to go. The Bulls made it an 11-0 run on Deng's 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 66-56 bulge.
The Mavs still wouldn't die. Rodrigue Beaubois, who finished with better stats than Rose, hit a 3-pointer with 7:11 to go to cut the deficit to five and Brandan Wright's putback with 5:53 to go made it 75-72.
Joakim Noah though proved too tough on the offensive glass and the Bulls hit key shots to finally put away the Mavs, who probably had not business being as close as they were.
But hey, obviously this game for Dallas was about fielding a team and playing some ball, staying healthy and let the chips fall where they may against the team with the league's best record before a four-day break.
Beaubois showed a little something in this one, coming back from a dislocated left ring finger in the second quarter. He had a big fourth quarter with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, to keep the Mavs close. He finished with 16 points on 7-of-15 shooting, five assists and six rebounds in 39 minutes.
Rose, guarded a good deal by Beaubois, finished with 11 points and eight assists in 32 minutes.
Dirk Nowitzki logged 33 minutes and had 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting and seven rebounds. Delonte West had 13 points and Vince Carter heated up late for 15 points after starting 0-of-6 from the field. Shawn Marion had just six points and six boards in 30 minutes.
What it means: The Mavs dropped to the seventh seed behind the Denver Nuggets, who won at Phoenix earlier Saturday, by one loss and percentage points. The Nuggets have three games remaining. Dallas, with one game to go, is assured of finishing the 66-game season no better than eight games over .500, the equivalent of 46 wins in an 82-game schedule.
Bold play of the game: When Beaubois fell to the ground holding his left hand, visions of being out the rest of the season had to come to mind on the Mavs' bench. But when he checked back in moments later, he showed some toughness that needed to be seen by his coach and teammates. He then put together a strong performance.
Stat of the game: Eight points marks a new franchise low for points by the Mavs in an opening quarter. The previous low was nine, accomplished three times, the last being Jan. 7, 1997.