The Chicago Bulls entered their game with the Cleveland Cavaliers with a 6-2 record since trading Luol Deng to Cleveland. The Cavs had managed just a 4-4 record over the span. By the end of the night, it was the Bulls with the last laugh, as they left Quicken Loans Arena with a 98-97 win.
Chicago came into the game with a depleted lineup. They were without starters Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, and Kirk Hinrich due to injury, along with no Deng in their lineup. They only used a nine-man rotation, yet were able to outwork the Cavaliers on their home court.
Cleveland's defense was dreadful throughout the night, but especially so in the second half. They allowed the Bulls to score 55 second half points after allowing 43 in the first.
Chicago had three players score 20 or more points compared to Cleveland's one.
D.J. Augustin tied a season-high (and had a game high) with 27 points along with seven assists and five rebounds. Augustin has bounced around since coming into the NBA and was out of the league before the Bulls called after the Rose injury.
Taj Gibson matched his career best with 26 points, while also contributing five rebounds. Mike Dunleavy, who is starting in Deng's onld spot, scored 22 on 9-14 shooting.
Chicago also got 10 points from Jimmy Butler and a game-high 18 rebounds from Joakim Noah,
Kyrie Irving got hot in the second quarter, making four consecutive three-point attempts to give the Cavaliers a one point halftime advantage. Irving finished 10-19 from the floor and 5-7 from behind the three point line for 26 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
Dion Waiters came off the bench for 15 points, carrying the team in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, he was not able to put the Cavs over the top, as the Bulls' defense slowed him down late in the game.
Deng scored 11 points in his first game against his old team, but shot 2-11 from the field in his worst night since coming to Cleveland. Anderson Varejao had 10 points, but was outworked on the boards by Noah, finishing with just 11 rebounds.
The Cavaliers were disappointed with their effort in this game, not doing enough to beat a makeshift roster on their home court. Fortunately, there is little time to dwell, as Cleveland plays every other day for the next 10 games. This stretch continues Friday as they welcome the Milwaukee Bucks to the Q.
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