Bulls Hold Off Cavs at The Q
Wrap-Up – The Cavaliers’ homestand hasn’t exactly gotten off to a great start, as the Wine and Gold fell for the second straight contest at The Q, dropping a 98-87 decision to a shorthanded Chicago team on Wednesday night. Cleveland cut the Bulls’ dozen-point fourth-quarter lead to just three on several occasions in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer before falling to their Central Division foe.
Kyrie Irving paced the Cavaliers with 26 points, going 10-of-19 from the floor. Dion Waiters came off the bench to net 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Anderson Varejao doubled-up for the third straight game with 10 points and 11 boards. Varejao has now grabbed 11 or more boards in 12 of Cleveland’s last 13 contests. Luol Deng, playing his first game as a Cavalier against his former team, rounded out the squad in double-figures, finishing with 11 points, but going just 2-of-11 from the floor.
The Cavs were held to 38 percent shooting and saw Chicago swat eight shots on the evening. D.J. Augustin, who’s now 9-for-14 from three-point range in his last two games against the Cavaliers, led both teams with 27 points. Taj Gibson recorded a career-high with 26, going 11-for-15 from the field.
Turning Point – After trailing by a half-dozen following the first period, the Cavs outscored Chicago, 27-20, in the second to take a one-point lead at intermission. But the Bulls came out of the locker room on a mission and opened the second stanza on a 20-8 run. Kyrie’s jumper with under two minutes to play in the period got Cleveland to within three at 65-62, but Chicago closed the quarter on a 6-0 run to give them all the breathing space they’d need.
Game Ball – Kyrie Irving – The Cavaliers All-Star guard notched 15 of his 26 points in the second quarter, going 5-for-6 from three-point range in the period. Irving finished the evening 5-of-7 from long-distance, adding six boards, five assists, a steal and just a single turnover in 37 minutes of action.
By the Numbers – 21.7, 6.1, 1.23, 72, 150 … Kyrie Irving’s averages in scoring, assists and steals, plus three pointers made and free throws made. He is one of three players in the NBA (along with Kevin Durant and James Harden) to lead his team in all five categories.
Quotable – Coach Mike Brown, on his team’s effort in Wednesday night’s loss …
”Chicago just out-toughed us. They out-toughed us. They were more physical than us. They played with more energy than we did. They executed.”
Up Next – The Cavs will try to right their ship on the homestand this Friday when Milwaukee rolls into town for a Central Division battle. After the Bucks, it’s another pair of Western Conference teams coming to The Q. On Sunday, the new-look Suns arrive for a 6:00 p.m. start and Anthony Davis and the Pelicans come to Cleveland two days later. After the homestand, the Cavs take on New York one week from Thursday and move on for a Texas two-step against the Rockets on February 1 and the Mavericks two nights later.