Cavaliers lose battle of bad teams, smacked by Bulls 112-92 
BY STONE LEXINGTON
CAVALIERS BEAT WRITER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - Entering Sunday, three teams sat tied for the worst record in the NBA at 8-25. Two of them met on Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls, both in a “developing young players and eyeing the 2019 NBA Draft” phase. Only one of them, though, could rise from the deepest crevice of the NBA standings.

The contest was close for nearly three quarters, but the Bulls began to pull away at the end of the third quarter and left Cleveland with a convincing 112-92 victory in Quicken Loans Arena.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” Cavs interim head coach Larry Drew said. “I really though we would come out and play with a little bit more energy, a little bit more enthusiasm, even given what our situation is with injuries.”

Larry Nance Jr. led the Cavs with a season-high 20 points and six rebounds. Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points and Cedi Osman chipped-in 17 points and six rebounds.

After a Matthew Dellavedova layup with 3:58 remaining in the third quarter, Cleveland trailed by a slim 75-71 margin. From that moment forward, it all went downhill for the Cavs. By the end of the third quarter, Chicago had amassed a 10-point lead, taking an 84-74 lead into the fourth. Less than three minutes into the fourth quarter, Cleveland trailed 92-79 and never recovered.

“It was really almost like they wore us down,” Drew said. “But more so than mentally, we’ve got to learn to play though that.”

It was easy to see why the Bulls have struggled to get victories this season, as Cavs players routinely weaved through what seemed like a non-existent Chicago defense in the first half. The Cavs had one of their highest scoring first halves of the season and led 59-54 at halftime. Unfortunately for the home team, the Cavs couldn’t keep the momentum in the second half.

Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen led Chicago with 31 points, while Kris Dunn scored 17 points.

The Cavs have been hideously plagued by injuries this season, playing without Kevin Love, Rodney Hood, John Henson and Tristan Thompson on Sunday. The team was also without J.R. Smith, and another Cavalier went down in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s contest, as guard David Nwaba had to be carried off the court with a left leg injury.

The Cavs will be in Memphis for a matchup with the Grizzlies on Wednesday.
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​POSTED 12/23/2018 21:07
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