The injury-ravaged Bulls manhandled the Cavaliers 98-87 on
Wednesday night before 16,890 at Quicken Loans Arena.
"They handed us our lunch," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "Going into
the game, we talked about how the tougher team or most physical team
would win the game. We didn't show up in that department."
Newly acquired forward Luol Deng struggled mightily against his old
team. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds, but was just 2
of 11 from the field.
Deng said he didn't force things on the court.
"If I was forcing things, I would have taken 30 shots," he said. "I
missed shots. I'm not happy with my performance. In terms of me, I
could have played better. It hurts."
Bulls point guard D.J. Augustin, who signed with Chicago on Dec. 13
after being waived by Toronto, scored a game-high 27 points. In two
games against the Cavs this season, he has averaged 22.5 points.
Augustin, who started in place of the injured Kirk Hinrich, added
five rebounds and a game-high seven assists. He was 8 of 14 from the
field and 5 of 8 from the 3-point line.
Bulls forward Taj Gibson was another player who made the best of his
opportunity. He matched his career high with 26 points in his fourth
start of the season. He replaced the injured Carlos Boozer.
The Bulls were well aware of what Deng was trying to do. After all,
he played nine-plus years in Chicago before being dealt to the Cavs
on Jan. 7.
"We knew a lot of the things that he wanted to do," Gibson said. "We
forced him to his weak points. It was weird. He knew all of our
plays, but we kept finding ways to score and it felt good."
The Bulls (21-20) tried to not make it into a Deng vs. the Bulls
"For us, it wasn't about (Deng)," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said.
"It was about playing Cleveland. I know what type of competitor he
is, and I know what kind of competitors we have on our team. I knew
it was going to be a fight."
The Bulls, given up for dead by many after the season-ending injury
to guard Derrick Rose, held the Cavs to 37.5 percent shooting from
"They brought us to a standstill tonight," Brown said. "We didn't do
a good job of moving bodies. They got what they wanted at the other
The Bulls took control of the game in the third quarter when Gibson
made 6 of 6 field goals. The Bulls led 71-62 entering the fourth
[to top of second column]
"Gibson hit three or four straight jump shots," Brown said.
"We got stretched out a bit. The different coverages we tried
just weren't good enough."
Cavs point gaurd Guard Kyrie Irving had a team-high 26 points,
15 in the second quarter. He was held to eight points in the
"We have to find answers internally," Irving said. "We show
spurts here and there. Other times, we were discombobulated on
Irving said the team's body language appeared as if they were
losing by 20 points.
"It was only six points," he said.
Guard Dion Waiters had 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter
for the Cavs.
The Cavs (15-27) were in the midst of a five-game homestand that
was supposed to jump start their playoff push. Instead, another
trip to the draft lottery might be in order.
Forward Mike Dunleavy added 22 points for the Bulls, who have
nine of their last 11 games. They are also 7-2 since the Deng
trade. The Cavs dropped to 3-4 with Deng in the lineup.
"When you play a great defensive team like that, they're going
to take away the easy points," Deng said. "They're going to make
you go into your second and third options. I thought tonight we
settled for the first option tonight."
Bulls center Joakim Noah was dominant on the boards with nine
points, a game-high 18 rebounds, six assists and two blocks.
NOTES: The Bulls began the night second in the NBA in points
allowed and third in opponents' field-goal percentage. The Cavs
were 21st in points allowed and 16th in opponents' field-goal
percentage. ... Cavs F Luol Deng said he is taking on more of a
vocal role with his new team. "Each game I'm trying to be more
vocal here," he said. "As a basketball player, I'm trying to be
the same." ... The Bulls played without starters G Kirk Hinrich
(hamstring) and F Carlos Boozer (calf). Boozer said he felt
better Wednesday, and he hopes to play in the Bulls'
back-to-back games this weekend. Hinrich will not be back as
quickly. ... The Cavs assigned rookie G Carrick Felix and G
Sergey Karasev to the NBA Development League's Canton Charge.
... The Bulls signed G Mike James, 38, to a 10-day contract.
Chicago waived him earlier in the season.
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