Judging by their season records, the Mavericks (13-26) and Bulls (13-25) are two of the less potent teams in the league. But a glance at recent play suggests that it’s worth looking a bit deeper: The Mavs play solid basketball these days when rookie Dennis Smith Jr is healthy and on the floor, and the Bulls have been a much better squad ever since Nikola Mirotic returned to action. They two teams face each other tonight. For more, here’s the Dallas Morning News:

The Mavericks have won five of eight since Dennis Smith Jr. has returned from injury. The Bulls are 10-5 since Nikola Mirotic returned from injury. He’s averaged better than 18 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes per game during that run.

“He’s one of the best plus-minus guys in the league since then,” Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s really changed their team. They were playing well but losing a lot of close games until then. He’s just given them more juice, more scoring, he’s a deceptive rebounder and the efficiency is there. With him and (rookie Lauri) Markkanen, you got two of the stretch fours in the game. And they’re really good at what they do.”

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