Maybe the Cavaliers should just consider Wednesday night’s contest in Atlanta the preseason opener and wipe Tuesday evening’s performance immediately out of their memory.
In reality, the young Cavaliers took one on the chin in the actual preseason opener in the Windy City – with the Bulls taking a big early lead and never looking back, handing Cleveland the 131-95 loss at the United Center.
Chicago ran out to a double-digit first quarter edge, but the Wine & Gold closed the gap heading into the second period. That was as good as it would get for the Cavs, who were outscored, 36-21, in the quarter and went into the halftime locker rook trailing by three touchdowns.
The Bulls scored 44 points in the third quarter to put things on ice early, leading by as many as 43 points against a Cavs team that never led on Tuesday night.
Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 14 points, going 3-of-9 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from long-range. The Young Bull led Cleveland with two steals but also had five of the Wine and Gold’s 20 turnovers on the night.
Lauri Markkanen was solid in his return to Chicago – leading all Cavs reserves with 13 points going 4-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line to go with four boards in 16 minutes of work.
Ricky Rubio came off the bench to pace the squad with six assists, adding 10 points and five boards.
Evan Mobley made his official debut in a Cavaliers uniform, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting, adding eight boards and a team-high two blocks in 21 minutes.
Jarrett Allen led the Wine & Gold with 10 rebounds to go with eight points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Kevin Love – who’s come off the bench twice during his Cavaliers career: once in Game 4 of the 2016 Finals and once to give Channing Frye the start in his final career game in 2019 – hit both three-pointers he attempted as a reserve on Tuesday, finishing with six points, a rebound and an assist in 11 minutes of work.
The Cavs shot just 36 percent from the floor, 31 percent from long-range, but did attempt 35 free throws on Tuesday.
Chicago’s Zach LaVine led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. The Bulls committed just nine turnovers that led to nine Cleveland points; the Cavs committed 22 miscues that led to 26 points in the loss.
Miss any of the action? Find all the highlights and photos in the Game Tracker.
Rookie big man Evan Mobley drives in from the wing, spins past his defender, puts up a floater and scores in the second quarter.
CALLS OF THE GAME
Enjoy the best broadcast calls of the night from Cavaliers Radio Network's Tim Alcorn and Rafa Hernandez-Brito from Power 89.1.