Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Derrick Roses Monday night call-out has reaped immediate benefits. Jimmy Butler had 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Pau Gasol added 13 points and 16 boards and the Chicago Bulls held off the Dallas Mavericks 102-98 on Friday night. After being handed a sixth loss in eight games following a 108-94 blowout loss to the Cavaliers in Cleveland, Rose preached for better effort from his teammates during a postgame press conference. The Bulls listened to their star. Chicago routed the reigning-champion San Antonio Spurs 104-81 on Thursday night prior to the triumph in Dallas. You played two games, you got to keep putting the intensity in it ... I like the direction were moving in, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. Rose netted 18 of his 20 points in the first half for Chicago, which outrebounded Dallas 47-30. Just physical disposition. We needed to be tougher. We need to be more hit- first, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said of the rebounding disparity. Dirk Nowitzki supplied 24 points, Monta Ellis provided 17 points and five steals and Tyson Chandler posted 10 points and 12 boards for the Mavericks, who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Chandler capped a 10-4 Dallas run with a pair of free throws to whittle its deficit to 99-95 with 56.3 seconds remaining before Taj Gibson split a pair of foul shots at the other end. Ellis was fouled on a right elbow jumper with 28.6 ticks on the clock and sunk the subsequent foul shots to cut the gap to 100-98. Carlisle elected not to foul and Rose tracked down his own miss following a missed layup. Gasol was fouled with 0.1 seconds left and sunk both bonus shots to seal the outcome. Earlier, Tony Snell and Rose hit early triples as the Bulls raced out to a 12-4 start before taking a 30-21 advantage into the second. Ellis finished off a 7-0 Dallas spurt with a jumper to help it pull within 52-51 late in the second. Rose sunk a pair of foul shots in the waning stages of the half to help Chicago head into the locker room with a 54-51 edge. Nowitzkis triple in the final second of the third got the Mavericks within 80-75. After Ellis jumper trimmed the Dallas deficit to 88-85 with 7:28 left, the Bulls ripped off the next seven points. Rose drove in for a reverse layup, Gasol found Gibson for a layup, Butler split a pair from the foul line and Aaron Brooks hit two from the charity stripe to cap the flurry for a 95-85 Chicago cushion with 4:30 to play. Game Notes The Bulls improved to 7-6 on the second night of back-to-backs this season ... Dallas scored 32 points off 24 Chicago turnovers ... Gasol has recorded double-doubles in 10 of his last 12 games ... The Bulls were 9-of-16 from beyond the arc. Jack Tatum Jersey
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. -- James Harden scored 31 points, including 25 in the second half, and the Houston Rockets dug out of a double-digit, first-half hole to beat the Orlando Magic 101-89 on Wednesday night.The Chicago Blackhawks filled their hole at second-line centre by securing the services of a veteran at a cut-rate price. Numbers Game looks at the Blackhawks signing Brad Richards. The Blackhawks Get: C Brad Richards. Richards, 34, has been a productive scorer throughout his career, but that productivity has waned as he approaches his mid-thirties. While he finished with a respectable 51 points in 82 games last season, that 0.62 points per game represented a career low and the second-lowest rate of his career was in 2012-2013, when he had 0.74 points per game. The downward trend is pretty clear at this point. He played 18:40 per game last season, his lowest average time on ice since his rookie season in 2000-2001. Given the massive contract that Richards had with the New York Rangers (nine years, $60-million), and the new recapture penalties that were imposed in the latest collective bargaining agreement, the Rangers had little choice but to buy out Richards, after paying him $33-million for the first three years of his deal. A long and productive career leaves Richards with few needs financially, so he went into his newfound free agency looking for a good fit and settled on joining the Blackhawks, a Stanley Cup contender who could use an upgrade at their second-line centre spot. In the past couple years, even as his point production has started to fall, Richards has had his zone starts tilted towards the offensive zone, with more than 65% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone. As a result, hes had strong possession stats, which may be enough to suggest that, eveen in decline, in a sheltered role, Richards would be an upgrade on Michal Handzus as Chicagos number two centre.dddddddddddd In Chicago, there is a good opportunity for Richards to have a productive year. Any combination of the Blackhawks top scoring wingers includes Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, so playing with two of them ought to give Richards a chance to have decent even-strength production. Whether Richards can match last seasons scoring totals, however, probably will have some dependence on power play production and, over the past couple seasons, Richards has really struggled to produce with the man advantage. Furthermore, Richards presence likely means that top Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen wont be starting the season in Chicago and that may be fine for his overall development, but if Teravainen shows that hes ready, it would be easy enough to see Richards bumped down the depth chart, as has happened from time to time with the Rangers over the past couple seasons. There is a benefit to the contract that Richards signed with Chicago -- a one-year, $2-million deal -- in that his declining production in New York was frequently contrasted with how much money the Rangers had tied up to get him. Now, Richards is a bargain signing and if he gives Chicago decent second-line production, he would bring a positive return on investment. Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca
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