December 19, 2014

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Bulls missing bulk of starting lineup, still pound Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Alonzo Gee is fouled by Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Alonzo Gee is fouled by Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

CHICAGO — The Cleveland Cavaliers have struggled winning on the road all season, they only recently began struggling in rebounding and they’ve always had problems in recent years beating the Chicago Bulls.

Put it all together and the Cavaliers lost 100-84 at United Center on Saturday in another game they’ll look back on late this season and see a game they should’ve won.

Despite the Cavs’ involvement in an overtime game Friday, the Bulls’ problems are far greater. They were down three starters in Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler and had lost seven of their last eight games.

They were also missing Kirk Hinrich, who has filled in as a starter, but sat out with a bad back, meaning the Bulls were actually down 3 ½ starters and missing their two leading scorers and three of their top five.

It didn’t matter. They still managed to break 100 points for the first time in nearly three weeks while ending a four-game losing streak.

The Bulls entered 29th in the league in scoring (91.4 points) and shooting (41.8 percent), yet managed to score 33 points in the first quarter and shoot 65 percent to begin the game.

“There were a lot of things I saw our team do that you just kind of sit back and go, ‘Is this really us?’” Cavaliers coach coach Mike Brown said.

Andrew Bynum had 19 points and seven rebounds, Kyrie Irving had 14 points and five assists and Tristan Thompson had 10 points and seven rebounds, but the Cavs lost for the third time in their last four games and fell to 2-12 on the road.

The Cavs now have a new issue to solve: learning how to close quarters well. Over the final five minutes of the first, second and third quarters Saturday, the Cavs were outscored 42-19.

The most egregious was the second quarter, when the Bulls scored 14 of the half’s final 16 points.

Irving’s short jumper pulled the Cavs within 43-39 with 5:47 left in the half, but they went 1-for-8 shooting the rest of the half and turned it over twice. The Bulls went 6-for-8 shooting during that stretch to extend the lead to 58-41, leaving the Cavs to play from far behind the entire second half.

“There’s no excuses, we just didn’t execute on both ends of the floor,” Irving said.

The Cavs trimmed the deficit to 75-65 late in the third quarter and were trying to get it to single digits. They played great defense for an entire possession, forcing a bad shot from Tony Snell at the shot-clock buzzer, but Joakim Noah grabbed the rebound and the Bulls had a new clock.

Snell finished the possession with a big 3-pointer, and after a miss by Bynum, Snell sank another 3 to push the Bulls’ lead to 16.

Noah had 18 rebounds and the Cavs were outrebounded for the fourth time in their last five games.

The Cavs were without Anthony Bennett, who did not make the trip because of an illness, and Dion Waiters, who sat with a sore right wrist. Waiters tried warming up prior to the game but was scratched shortly after walking onto the court to test the wrist.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Bulls 100, Cavaliers 84

CLEVELAND (84): Gee 0-1 0-0 0, Thompson 5-12 0-0 10, Bynum 9-15 1-2 19, Irving 5-16 3-3 14, Miles 1-5 2-2 4, Jack 4-13 2-2 11, Varejao 3-6 0-0 6, Dellavedova 4-9 0-0 10, Clark 1-3 0-0 2, Karasev 1-3 0-0 2, Zeller 3-5 0-0 6, Sims 0-1 0-0 0, Felix 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 36-90 8-9 84.
CHICAGO (100): Dunleavy 5-7 1-3 11, Boozer 8-14 3-5 19, Noah 4-11 3-3 11, Augustin 7-12 0-1 18, Snell 5-11 2-2 17, Gibson 5-8 5-8 15, Teague 1-2 0-0 3, Mohammed 2-4 2-2 6, Murphy 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-69 16-24 100.

Cleveland 26 17 22 19 — 84
Chicago 33 27 21 19 — 100

3-Point Goals—Cleveland 4-18 (Dellavedova 2-3, Jack 1-3, Irving 1-5, Felix 0-1, Miles 0-2, Clark 0-2, Karasev 0-2), Chicago 10-15 (Snell 5-8, Augustin 4-6, Teague 1-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Cleveland 40 (Bynum, Thompson 7), Chicago 55 (Noah 18). Assists—Cleveland 21 (Jack 6), Chicago 27 (Augustin 10). Total Fouls—Cleveland 20, Chicago 14. Technicals—Cleveland defensive three second, Chicago defensive three second. A—21,658 (20,917).

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WHO: Cleveland vs. Detroit
WHEN: Monday, 7 p.m.
WHERE: The Q
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