Cleveland seems to inspire the Bulls. Because once again the Bulls rocked and rolled and danced all over the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 99-93 victory.
The Bulls moved to 36-39 and yet finished the season with a 4-0 sweep over the defending champion Cavaliers. It was another shocking loss for the Cavaliers, who fell to 47-27 and lost for the fifth time in their last seven games. It was the Bulls curious 20th consecutive home game win in a game televised by TNT.
It was another big scoring game for Nikola Mirotic with 28 points, the third time in the last four games he’d scored exactly that many points. Jimmy Butler added 25 points, Denzel Valentine has 12 and Rajon Rondo had seven points and 15 assists. The Bulls had 26 assists overall in another game with sharp ball movement. Robin Lopez had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Dwyane Wade remained out and Cameron Payne was inactive. Cristiano Felicio was available, but did not play with his back injury. It was a Cavaliers team coming into the game having lost nine of 15 in March. The Bulls had lost nine of 14 in March and had not won back to back games in more than a month. The Bulls were coming in three off three off days following the Sunday win in Milwaukee. Kyle Korver was out for the Cavaliers. The Bulls came in 3-0 over the Cavs after 3-1 last season. It looked like it would continue as the Bulls got off quickly with an 11-4 lead as Mirotic was hot. He scored 13 of the Bulls first 17 points with a trio of three pointers. But other than he and Butler, the support was lacking. The Cavs closed the first quarter with a 10-2 run to lead 28-22 after one quarter. The Cavs continued to pile on to start the second quarter with an inexplicable fast break for a James dunk on the second quarter inbounds pass. James would have 19 points in the first half in a dominating display. Mirotic almost matched him with 17 points. But Butler with 10 went out late in the second quarter after being hit in the face by Iman Schumpert. The Bulls had little in reserve early with Paul Zipser, out of sorts the entire first half with four of the Bulls eight turnovers, Valentine and Michael Carter-Williams a combined two of 14 in the first half as the Bulls shot 34 percent the first half. The Bulls barely stayed in behind Mirotic and trailed 50-41 at halftime.
Butler was back out to start the third quarter and immediately made a jumper and finished a lob from Rondo to draw within 55-50 three minutes into the quarter. It was an aggressive Rondo, chasing down loose balls and getting into double digits in assists that led the Bulls on an 11-0 run for a 56-55 Bulls lead. The Bulls shooting cooled again and the Cavs eased ahead 64-60 with 4:33 left in the third quarter, but not for long. Carried by three point shooting with another pair each from Mirotic and Valentine, the Bulls hit the Cavs with a 15-2 run to lead 78-71 going into the fourth quarter. Mirotic had 26 points on nine of 14 shooting through three quarters. The Bulls outscored the Cavs 37-21 in the third quarter. It was a franchise record fifth straight game with double digit threes. The Bulls had trouble finding their shots to open the fourth. But Bobby Portis was aggressive with a pair of offensive rebound putbacks to give the Bulls an 83-76 lead with 7:48 left. Butler with a drive drew Kevin Love’s sixth foul as the Bulls took a 90-81 lead with 5:58 left in the game.