Strong Second Half Lifts Cavs in Columbus

Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

Monday’s matchup in Columbus was about as close to a dress rehearsal as the Cavs fans have seen so far this preseason. And when the curtain fell, the sellout crowd in the state capital saw another Wine and Gold win – this time over their Central Division rival Bulls, 107-98, at the Schottenstein Center.

Kyrie Irving – who notched 20 of his 28 points after intermission – blew the game open midway through the third, keying an 11-1 run that took Cleveland from a one-point deficit to a double-digit lead. The closest Chicago got the rest of the way came with just 1:12 remaining, when Derrick Rose’s trey got them to within six.

The Cavs started Irving, LeBron James and Kevin Love together for just the second time this preseason, and the first time since the trio tipped off the preseason together against Maccabi Tel Aviv at The Q.

”What I really liked about tonight was we had Kevin (Love), Kyrie (Irving) and LeBron (James) on the floor at the same time,” said Coach Blatt. “We got a fair view of that tonight and I thought that went pretty well. (We still have) a lot to do, a lot to correct but overall, I think the Cavaliers are taking strides in the correct direction.”

On the night, Irving went 10-for-19 from the floor, including successive highlight reel plays in the third quarter – crossing over Derrick Rose and pulling up for an18-footer, canning a floater in the paint on the next possession and, after a long outlet pass off a LeBron rebound, pulling up for a three-pointer to bust the game open.

“I think it’s just a respect factor that we all have with each other’s games,” said Irving. “If someone catches it in a spot, we give them space to work, and if he has nothing there, we’re moving on the backside. Our offense is predicated on making plays and playing on the backside on every possession, and continuing to move the ball and move in the offense. That’s the type of game we want to play.”

James had another solid game – packing the boxscore with 18 points, seven boards, six assists, a steal and a blocked shot before leaving the contest midway through the fourth quarter to a raucous standing ovation from the Columbus crowd.

“The excitement was there when we walked in the building,” smiled James “Even though it was a school night, we had a lot of kids and college kids here. It just goes to show how much they support us and we just tried to put on a show, play hard for them and show them winning ways.”

Kyrie did most of his work in the second half, but it was Anderson Varejao who got the win rolling in the first stanza.

Getting the start at center, Varejao led all Cavaliers in the first half – hitting eight of his first ten field goal attempts and scoring 16 of his 22 points before intermission. Andy added eight boards, a pair of assists, steals and blocked shots.

Kevin Love didn’t shoot the ball particularly well – going just 2-of-10 from the floor – but led both squads with 13 boards.

Tristan Thompson continued his strong preseason and came off the Cavs bench to tally 10 points, eight boards and a pair of blocked shots.

As a team, the Wine and Gold shot 49 percent from the floor to Chicago’s 42 percent. Cleveland outrebounded the Bulls, 47-40, and outgunned them on the break, 19-12. One game after committing 22 turnovers that led to 25 Mavericks points in their sole loss of the preseason, Cleveland cleaned it up to just nine miscues on Monday.

The Cavs traveled to Memphis after the game and will face off against the Grizzlies on Wednesday night to close out the 2014-15 preseason. Eight days later, the squad tips off maybe the most eagerly-anticipated opener in franchise history when they welcome the Knicks to Cleveland on October 30.

Bulls vs. Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving stole the show with 28 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 107-98 win against the Bulls on Monday night at Ohio State.

Cavaliers vs. Bulls - October 20, 2014

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Bulls vs. Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving stole the show with 28 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 107-98 win against the Bulls on Monday night at Ohio State.
Oct 20, 2014  |  00:00

Rose and Irving Battle

Derrick Rose drops 30 points for the Bulls, but Kyrie Irving scores 28 points in the Cavs 107-98 win over Chicago.
Oct 20, 2014  |  00:00

Postgame: LeBron James vs. Chicago - Oct. 20

Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke with the media following the Cavs 107-98 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Oct 20, 2014  |  03:38

Postgame: Coach Blatt vs. Chicago - Oct. 20

Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt spoke with the media following the Cavs 107-98 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Oct 20, 2014  |  03:29

Deep Oop to Thompson

Matthew Dellavedova throws the inbounds alley-oop to Tristan Thompson for the mean slam.
Oct 20, 2014  |  00:00

Bulls vs. Cavaliers: First half

The Cavs lead the Bulls by two at the break.
Oct 20, 2014  |  00:00

Tristan in Traffic

Dion Waiters sets up Tristan Thompson for the two-handed stuff over the defense.
Oct 20, 2014  |  00:00

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