By John Jackson Associated Press
The Clinton Herald
---- — CHICAGO — Vince Carter and the Dallas Mavericks made sure this one was decided early.
Monta Ellis scored 22 points and Dallas took control in the first quarter, coasting to a 105-83 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.
Carter and Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points apiece for the Mavericks, who led by as many as 32 while bouncing back from a home loss to San Antonio on Thursday.
“We were locked in from the jump and we didn’t have to play catch-up, and I think that’s good for our team,” Carter said. “We had to bring more energy and we had to do it from the beginning. We had to hit those guys first because they do a great job of trying to take teams out of their game early.”
Joakim Noah led Chicago with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but the Bulls had their modest two-game winning streak snapped. Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson each added 13.
“Whenever you feel too good about yourself somebody smacks you,” Gibson said. “That’s a part of the NBA.”
The Mavericks took command with a 15-2 run to end the first quarter, turning a 17-15 deficit into a 30-19 lead. Carter, who entered just before the run started, had seven points during the spurt.
Dallas continued to pull away early in the second quarter, using a pair of four-point plays — one each by Nowitzki and Jae Crowder — to stretch the lead to 43-23 less than 4 minutes into the period. The Mavericks led by as many as 29 points before taking a 61-34 advantage into halftime.
“There is no doubt that we played well,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. “When we rebound and defend like that, we are a formidable team.
“(The Bulls) are very physical. They get up on our ball handlers and can cause problems. This was a great win for us.”
The Bulls gave up plenty of points, but much of their first-half woes came on the offensive end. They didn’t manage to score 20 points in either quarter, going 14 for 36 (38.9 percent) from the field and committing 13 turnovers in the first half.
Carter led the Mavericks with 14 points on 4-for-5 shooting, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers. Dallas was 7 for 13 from long range in the first half, compared with 1 of 6 for the Bulls.
“You have to give them credit,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. “They played well, they shot well. They are a terrific offensive team. They got their confidence early and then they can go all night.”