Bulls Topple Cavs at The Q

Tristan Thompson shoots over Taj Gibson in Friday's loss to Chicago.
David Liam Kyle
NBAE.Getty Images
The Wine and Gold might’ve thought they caught a break when the reigning MVP was unable to suit up for Chicago. Turns out, the Bulls didn’t need him.

The young Cavaliers have taken some tough competition to the wire this season, but that was not the case on Friday night, as the Bulls – sans Derrick Rose – went nearly wire-to-wire, handing the Cavs their worst defeat ever at The Q, 114-75.

“You worry that, when you have a team that’s young like we are, they are going to have a big sigh of relief and think it’s easier,” said Coach Scott, addressing Rose’s absence. “If that’s the lesson that we took from this game, then hopefully we’ll learn from it and do better next time.”

Kyrie Irving got it going early – netting 11 points in the first quarter. But that might have been Cleveland’s lone bright spot. And even Irving’s success was short-lived. With a back-to-back on deck, Coach Byron Scott yanked most of his starters late in the third quarter and Irving had tallied just two more points before that point.

“Things just didn’t go our way tonight and there was definitely a lack of effort on our end –I take responsibility for that,” said the freshman point guard. “They’re just a hell of a team and we have to give them credit on both ends of the floor.”

The Bulls took an eight-point edge after one quarter, led by 19 at half and went into the final period up 24 – and led by as many as 42. On the night, they shot 55 percent from the floor to the Cavaliers’ 30. Chicago mauled Cleveland on the boards, 54-38, and outscored the Cavs in the paint, 50-28.

Cleveland was led by Anderson Varejao – the only Cavalier to shoot over 50 percent – who finished with 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Kyrie Irving was the only other Cavalier in double-figures, notching 13 points and going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

The Wine and Gold actually shot an even 50 percent from long-distance on Friday night. But further proof that it wasn’t their night came in the fact that Chicago shot 67 percent from three-point range.

Five Bulls notched double-figures, led by Luol Deng’s 21 points. Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah combined for 24 of Chicago’s 54 boards.

The Cavaliers get a chance to wipe Friday night’s game from their memory in short order. They travel to the Dirty South to face the Hawks on Saturday night in Atlanta.

  • The Cavs bench, which came into Friday’s game second in the Eastern Conference, tallying 37.8 points per contest, was one of Cleveland’s bright spots on Friday – netting 31 points. Alonzo Gee finished with seven points and seven boards; Boobie Gibson was 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

  • Friday’s 39-point shellacking was the worst home loss ever for the Wine and Gold. The last time they were drubbed in Cleveland like that was March 20, 2001, when the Knicks beat them by 35.

  • Anderson Varejao had his string of double-digit boards snapped against the Bulls – mostly attributable to the fact that he sat out the fourth quarter. The Wild Thing – who is still 5th in the NBA at 11.4 rebounds per game – finished with seven boards on Friday. The last time Andy didn’t notch double-figure boards was Jan. 3.

  • Aside from Varejao’s rebounding marks, here’s how the Cavs stack up after 13 games: Kyrie Irving is 21st in the NBA in scoring (17.7 ppg) and 23rd in assists (5.2 apg). Daniel Gibson is 17th in three-point shooting (.453) and Ramon Sessions is 16th in free throw percentage (.889).

  • Samardo Samuels saw his first action in almost two weeks on Friday night. The bruising big man, who last played in Portland on Jan. 8, finished with four points in nine fourth-quarter minutes.

  • Anthony Parker and Luke Harangody both were big Bulls fans in their younger days. Parker’s family moved near Chicago when the Bulls were making their run in 1991. Harangody – who grew up in Decatur, Illinois – is a fan of almost all things Chicago. (He hates the Cubs.)

  • Spotted in the stands on Friday night: former Cavalier great, Terrell Brandon. He had a little grey on the temples, but the former All-Star point guard still looked like he could lace ‘em up. The Cavs could’ve used him.