Notebook: Bulls 95, Cavaliers 85

Posted Dec 6, 2012 12:23 AM

Brian Dulik, for

THE FACTS: Shooting guard Marco Belinelli scored 10 of his season-high 23 points in the first quarter as the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 95-85 at Quicken Loans Arena. Small forward Luol Deng added 22 points for Chicago, while center Joakim Noah had 13 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Cleveland point guard Donald Sloan scored a season-high 14 points off the bench, while center Anderson Varejao collected 11 points and 15 rebounds. The Bulls have won 10 straight games over the Cavaliers, including six in a row in Cleveland.

QUOTABLE: "It was good for me tonight to get going early, and my teammates looked to find me, which was good. I was just going to be aggressive and keep trying my best."
-- Bulls shooting guard Marco Belinelli

THE STAT: NBA rebounding leader Varejao posted his 10th straight double-double despite missing 12 of his 16 field goal attempts. The mop-topped Brazilian also extended his streak of games with at least 15 total rebounds and five offensive boards to 10 in a row -- just two shy of the NBA record of 12 set by Houston center Moses Malone in 1978-1979. "Do I like playing against him? No," Noah said. "But I've got to give credit where credit is due. He's one of those guys that never takes a play off. I really respect him on and off the court."

TURNING POINT: After the Cavaliers pulled within 64-59 on two Tyler Zeller free throws with 1:51 left in the third, the Bulls ended the quarter on an 8-4 run to extend their lead to nine. Point guard Kirk Hinrich scored Chicago's final six points in the frame, while Noah added a rare mid-range jumper for the other two. Cleveland never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. "We felt like we had a chance, but we just ran out of gas," said Zeller, a rookie center from North Carolina. "Give them credit for keeping their foot down."

QUOTABLE II: "I'm proud of our guys. They're battling. But that's the problem right now with us. We've got to play a damn-near perfect game on both ends of the floor to win."
-- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott

HOT: Bulls power forward Carlos Boozer notched his eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Noah also posted his eighth double-double this winter, while his 15 boards matched a season high. ... Chicago has won three of its last four games to move back above .500 at 9-8. ... Varejao had five offensive boards, keeping him atop the NBA leaders in that category with 110. "I know his brother (Sandro) pretty well, but (Anderson) seems nice, too," Noah said, smiling. "Brazilians are usually pretty cool people."

NOT: Cavaliers small forward Alonzo Gee was benched by Scott for poor defensive play just two minutes into the game. "It was just to let him know that it's not acceptable," the coach explained. "I bawled him out, talked to him about it, waited a couple of minutes, and put him back in." ... Cleveland point guard Jeremy Pargo shot 3-of-12 and only dished out four assists in 29 minutes. ... The Cavaliers are 2-7 since losing reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving to a broken left index finger on Nov. 17 against Dallas.

QUOTABLE III: "We all knew Marco could play. He's just been struggling with his rhythm and getting used to playing with us. It takes time, but we're getting there."
-- Bulls small forward Luol Deng

GOOD MOVE: Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau gave Belinelli his second straight start in place of injured shooting guard Richard Hamilton (left plantar fascia tear) -- resisting the urge to go with Jimmy Butler or Nate Robinson. Belinelli responded by sinking his first four shots and scoring 12 points in the first 14 minutes, powering the Bulls out to a 31-14 advantage. "Marco is a very good catch-and-shoot player, so we wanted to play off that," Thibodeau said. "Each day, he's doing better for us."

BAD MOVE: Noah picked up a technical foul early in the fourth quarter after protesting a foul call that went against Bulls power forward Taj Gibson. "There is an appropriate way to address an official, and our team has to learn that," Thibodeau said. ... Pargo also was called for a technical in the final period when he flung the ball backward after being fouled by Belinelli -- and struck the Italian sharpshooter squarely on the nose. "It bled a little right away, but I'm OK now," Belinelli said.

NOTABLE: Hamilton is traveling with the Bulls, but Thibodeau said before the game that he is "probably going to be (out) a week or two." The 13-year veteran was injured Saturday against Philadelphia. ... Cavaliers rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters (left ankle sprain) missed his second straight contest. ... Irving (left index finger fracture) practiced shooting on the arena's main court before the game, but is not expected to return to Cleveland's lineup until mid-December. ... Cavaliers power forward Kevin Jones -- an undrafted rookie from West Virginia -- was on the active roster for the first time as a professional, but did not play.

UP NEXT: For the Bulls, Friday @ Detroit, Saturday vs. New York, Tuesday vs. L.A. Clippers. For the Cavaliers, Friday @ Minnesota, Saturday vs. Detroit, Tuesday vs. L.A. Lakers.