Bulls Best Cavaliers at The Q
Wrap-Up – Once again, the shorthanded Cavaliers dug themselves a hole early and spent the next three quarters trying to dig themselves out of it. By the time they (almost) did – cutting an 18-point Bulls’ lead to just five late in the third period. But Chicago pulled away in the closing quarter, topping the Wine and Gold for the tenth straight occasion – 95-85 – on Wednesday night at The Q.
The Cavaliers – again without the services of their starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters – had six players in double-figures, led by Anderson Varejao, who tallied his 10th straight double-double with 11 points and a team-high 15 boards. Donald Sloan led Cleveland with 14 points off the bench, Tristan Thompson added 11 and Tyler Zeller and C.J. Miles pitched in with 10 points apiece.
Turning Point – The Cavaliers were within five points – 64-59 – when Tyler Zeller canned a pair of free throws with 1:51 to play in the third. The Bulls improved their edge to nine by quarter’s end, but used an 11-3 to start the fourth to put the game just out of reach. Cleveland got within single digits halfway through the fourth, but could get no closer.
Game Ball – Donald Sloan – Though he’s played sparingly this year, Sloan stayed ready and brought a big effort when the injury-plagued backcourt needed it most. Overall, the former Aggie went 4-of-8 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. He was 4-for-4 from the stripe, adding three assists without a turnover in 23 minutes off the bench.
By the Numbers – 38.1, 9.0 …average points and assists the Cavaliers are missing with the starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters on the shelf.
Quotable – Coach Byron Scott, on the Cavaliers’ effort in Wednesday’s loss …
“One thing we’ll be and always will be is a no excuse team, and we’re going to play the guys that we have available. We’re not going to cry about the guys that aren’t here and can’t participate because when they’re healthy, they’ll come back and supply us with the parts that we need. Right now the guys that we have out there are playing as hard as they can and that’s all you can ask for.”
Seen and Heard – The Cavaliers rookies had been getting initiated by having to wear little girl’s backpacks everywhere, but on Wednesday it got taken up a notch. Now, the rookies – including Kevin Jones – have baby strollers with little baby dolls to wheel around. The babies have even been given names by veterans and coaches. Waiters’ baby is “Mary,” Zeller’s is “Laquesha” and Jones’ is “C.C.” (Coach Scott wouldn’t elaborate on what that stands for.)
Up Next – The December weekend back-to-backs keep coming as the Cavaliers travel to Minnesota for a Friday night matchup with the Timberwolves. They return home for a Saturday night meeting with the Pistons at The Q.