Final Dime: Bulls 93, Cavaliers 82
Baron Davis finished with 10 points and six assists on Friday night at The Q.
David Liam Kyle
After winning their last two, the Cavaliers never found that same rhythm against the Eastern Conference’s top club – with Chicago holding the Wine and Gold to just 36 second-half points and handing them a 93-82 loss at The Q.
The Cavaliers trailed by just three after one quarter and were within eight at intermission, but the Bulls’ turned up the defensive pressure in the second stanza – using a 12-2 run midway through the third period to create some breathing space.
Daniel Gibson canned a three-pointer with 2:21 remaining to get the Cavs to within nine, 89-80, but Carlos Boozer notched two buckets in the closing moments to seal the deal.
The Bulls defense was stout for most of the night – holding the Cavaliers to 44 percent shooting, including 13 percent from long-distance. Cleveland attempted just 11 free throws and was held to just six second-chance points.
“In the first half we executed pretty good, but we just really hurt ourselves with our turnovers (and) we hurt ourselves with defensive rebounding,” said Coach Byron Scott. “In the second half, I thought we did more standing around.”
The Cavaliers were led once again by J.J. Hickson, who finished with 22 points on 11-for-20 shooting, adding a game-high 15 boards.
A pair of Cavalier guards came off the bench with strong efforts. Daniel Gibson finished with 14 points, going 6-for-9 from the floor and Ramon Sessions added 13 more on 5-for-10 shooting. The duo netted just a single assist between them, however, and the Wine and Gold finished with just 14 helpers overall – compared to 30 for Chicago.
“They’re a great defensive team, you see it out there,” said Sessions. “They do it every game. Maybe the ball did stick a little bit, but that was because of their defense though. Hats off to those guys. They played a good game tonight and got a win.”
Alonzo Gee finished with 11 points, five boards and a steal and Baron Davis rounded out the Cavaliers in double-figures with 10 points and a team-high six assists.
The Cavaliers hit the road directly after Friday’s game, bound for their final two road games of the 2010-11 season – a Saturday night matchup in Milwaukee and a Monday night meeting with the Pistons.
2. After player introductions, the Cavaliers gathered around Austin Carr at midcourt and Joe Tait’s banner – featuring the number 39 (the number of years Joe’s been calling Cavalier games) and microphone graphic. Throughout the game, audio clips, tributes from current players and some Tait trivia was shown on Q-Vision in the arena.
His banner hangs to the left of Carr’s and raises the total to seven. (Joe Tait, Austin Carr, Bingo Smith, Nate Thurmond, Mark Price, Larry Nance and Brad Daugherty)
3. J.J. Hickson has now tallied six games this season of 20-plus points and 15 or more rebounds.
4. In four games against the Bulls this year, Hickson is averaging 14.0 points and 11.0 boards per contest.
5. Semih Erden, who’s been nursing a sore groin for the past couple weeks, saw just his second stint with the Cavaliers since being traded to Cleveland from Boston. The Turkish seven-footer logged just under 12 minutes on Friday, finishing with two points and three boards after picking up three quick fouls.
“I was very encouraged by what I saw,” observed Coach Scott. “He looked pretty good for a guy who hadn’t been out there in a while and whose conditioning is nowhere near where it should be or where we want it to be, and for a guy who doesn’t really know what we’re doing offensively.”
6. Baron Davis had his consecutive game steak of hitting at least two three-pointers in a game snapped at eight straight.
7. Alonzo Gee notched double-figures for the sixth straight game – averaging 11.2 points per game and shooting 54 percent from beyond the arc during that span.
8. Since moving back to the bench seven games ago, Ramon Sessions is averaging 16.7 points per contest.
9. The Cavaliers shot just 13 percent from beyond the arc, but held the Bulls to a season-low-tying 25 percent from three-point range.
10. Several writers – and a few fans – got into the Joe Tait act on Friday night, donning their own version of the infamous Joe Tait multicolored, vertically-striped sweater. Austin Carr and Fred McLeod broadcast the game in their sweaters and scribes Jason Lloyd (Akron Beacon-Journal), Mary Schmidtt-Boyer (Plain Dealer), Bob Finan (News-Herald) posed with Tait in their matching threads.
But Fox Sports Ohio’s sideline reporter Jeff Phelps (who also sported a loud, Tait-like sweater) had the line of the night, proclaiming, “The rest of these guys had to go buy their sweaters. I found mine in my closet.”
Joe Gabriele is the official beat writer for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Cavs.com. You can follow Joe and send him your questions on Twitter at @CavsJoeG.