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Wrap-Up -- Heading into the Christmas holiday, the shorthanded Cavaliers haven’t had a two-day break in five weeks. On Sunday evening against Chicago at The Q, it showed.
The Wine & Gold scored 33 points after intermission, had more turnovers than assists and were outrebounded by double-digits en route to the, 112-92, loss in their final home contest of 2019.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair that featured 15 lead-changes. The Central Division’s two last-place squads exchanged blows in the third period before the Bulls began pulling away heading towards the fourth.
In the final period, Chicago shot 66 percent from the floor compared to Cleveland’s 33 percent, pulling away late to win for the second time in as many meetings this season.
Larry Nance Jr. continued his outstanding play – pacing the Wine & Gold with a season-high 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting, adding six boards and a team-high three steals.
Cedi Osman notched double-figures for the fifth straight game, following up with 17 points, going 6-of-11 from the floor, including 2-of-4 from long-range, to go with a team-best seven boards.
Jordan Clarkson did his normal work off the bench – chipping in with 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting in 30 minutes of work.
Nance Jr. tallies a team-high 20 points in loss to Bulls.
Alec Burks slid into the starting lineup with Rodney Hood out with a toe injury suffered on Friday night in Toronto and added 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting, adding six boards and three assists.
Matthew Dellavedova was the only other Cavalier in double-figures, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-9 shooting.
For Chicago, impressive sophomore Lauri Markkanen led all scorers with 31 points, going 11-of-18 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from long-range, adding five boards and three steals in the win.
Turning Point -- For most of three quarters, the battle between a pair of 8-25 teams was a see-saw affair, with neither team leading by more than a touchdown in the first stanza.
The Cavs took an early six-point edge in the second half, but again both teams pulled neck-and-neck for most of the third period. But a quick 7-0 surge by Chicago near the end of the quarter seemed to wobble the Wine & Gold, who went into the fourth down double-figures.
Cleveland cut the Bulls’ lead back under double-figures right away in the fourth on Jordan Clarkson’s triple. But that’s as good as it would get for the Cavs on Sunday – with Chicago answering that shot with a 10-2 run that put Larry Drew’s tired squad in catch-up mode for the rest of the night.
By the Numbers – 15.3, 12.3, 4.0, 2.25, .619 … Larry Nance Jr.’s scoring, rebounding, assists and steals averages – plus shooting percentage – over his last five starts.
Quotable – Cedi Osman, on Sunday evening’s disappointing loss at The Q …
"We just didn’t take the challenge. We didn’t play tough. We didn’t play hard. In the first half, we played really good. We shared the ball, we played really good defense. But in the second half, it was two different halves. We’re going to have to learn how to play for 48 minutes."
Up Next -- Following Sunday night’s loss at The Q, the Wine & Gold get right back on the road for three more games to close out the calendar year – pausing to celebrate Christmas before shipping off to Memphis for a Wednesday night matchup with the revived Grizzlies. The three-gamer wraps up with a weekend back-to-back starting with Cleveland’s first trip to Miami this season on Friday night followed by a Saturday night meeting with the Hawks in Atlanta. The Wine & Gold play their first four games of 2019 back at The Q beginning next Wednesday.