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Despite being without their starting backcourt on Sunday night, the Cavaliers looked much more ready to rumble with Chicago than they did just days earlier in the preseason opener.
The Wine & Gold still couldn’t pull off the win – falling, 102-101, to the undefeated Bulls – but they still got some very strong performances with their big lineup, especially prized rookie Evan Mobley.
After being blasted in the Windy City on Tuesday night, the Cavaliers went toe-to-toe with their Central Division rivals on Sunday in a game that featured 25 lead-changes, including nine in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland was up four, 99-95, with 1:41 to play, but Bulls reserve Devon Dotson drilled a three to get Chicago to within one. Rookie Ayo Dosunmu would score two straight buckets to give Billy Donovan’s squad a three-point lead and just enough space to escape with the victory.
Evan Mobley doubled-up in just his fourth exhibition contest – finishing with 15 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, going 7-for-13 from the floor, adding four assists, two steals and three blocked shots.
Lauri Markkanen – who slid into the small forward (with Isaac Okoro moving to the 2) in the absence of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland – and led the Cavaliers with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting, adding four boards, three assists, two steals and three swats of his own.
Jarrett Allen rounded out the Cavaliers starters in double-figures, chipping in with 12 points, eight boards and a team-best three steals.
Ricky Rubio got the spot start for Cleveland and handed out a game-high nine assists without leaving the bench after intermission, adding nine points and a steal.
Cedi Osman led Cleveland’s reserves with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting and Kevin Pangos came off the bench to finish with six points and six assists in the loss.
Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 23 points, going 9-for-17 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long-range.
The Cavs netted 58 points in the paint, but struggled from long-range and the stripe on Sunday – going 7-of-24 from beyond the arc and shooting just 47 percent from the free throw line.
The Wine and Gold wrap up the preseason on Friday night, traveling to Indiana for a rematch with the Pacers before tipping off the regular season the following Wednesday night in Memphis.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Ricky Rubio passes off to a cutting Lauri Markkanen down the lane, as he catches and dunks with one hand early in the first quarter.
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.