Bulls Pull Away in Fourth
Wrap-Up – The Bulls took an early lead and kept the Cavaliers at bay through most of the night. Kyrie Irving’s three-pointer less than a minute into the fourth quarter cut Chicago’s 13-point edge to a single point, but the Bulls pulled away down the stretch to keep Cleveland winless on the road – handing the Wine and Gold a 96-81 loss on Monday night in the Windy City.
Kyrie led four Cavaliers in double-figures with 16 points, going 5-for-19 from the floor with four assists and a pair of rebounds in his eagerly-anticipated inaugural matchup with Derek Rose. Tristan Thompson doubled-up with 14 points and 13 boards. Dion Waiters chipped in with 13 points and Andrew Bynum, getting his first start in a Cavaliers uniform, added 11 points 11 points, six boards and a pair of blocked shots.
Each team shot 41 percent from the floor, but the Bulls shot 92 percent from the stripe and forced Cleveland into 20 turnovers that Chicago converted into 29 points. The Bulls had six players in double-figures, but Mike Dunleavy might have done the most damage, coming off the bench to net 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers were still within striking distance with just over three minutes to play, but Dunleavy hit a pair of free throws and canned a jumper after a Cleveland turnover, giving Chicago a double-digit lead with two minutes remaining. Kyrie’s trey cut the lead to 11, but it was too little, too late for the Wine and Gold.
Game Ball – Andrew Bynum – Getting his first start since April 22, 2012, Bynum got the Cavaliers off to a strong start on Monday, notching seven points, three boards and an assist in the first quarter. In the third period, he blocked a pair of Bulls’ offerings, including a swat of Jimmy Butler that led to a Dion Waiters fast break. In just over 20 minutes of play, Bynum was 3-of-5 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the stripe.
By the Numbers – 5 … Double-doubles that Tristan Thompson has recorded already this season – the 45th of his young career.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on his team taking on a tough Bulls squad …
”When we hit adversity tonight we didn’t handle it well. (The Bulls) took us out of what we wanted to do. That adverse situation was tough for us to handle. Tonight we were mentally not tough and physically didn’t handle their pressure.”
Up Next – The Cavaliers wrap up the two-game roadie on Wednesday night in Minnesota against Kevin Love and the still-hot Timberwolves, who the Wine and Gold topped on November 4 at The Q. They return home to face the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night at The Q before heading back out on the road to face the Wizards in Washington. The Cavaliers will play a weekend back-to-back for the first eight weeks of the season. The Cavs get a nice break after this weekend’s twofer; they don’t play again until Wednesday when the Wizards come to Cleveland. After that, it’s back on the road for a pair – another weekend back-to-back against the Pelicans and Spurs.