Cavaliers win sixth straight, coming from behind to stop Bulls 97-89  
            BY TIM SHIRER
(CLEVELAND, OH) - The Cleveland Cavaliers had a late night last night as they had a 10 pm tipoff in New Orleans on Friday night against the Pelicans and then traveled home after defeating the Pelicans 118-107 for their fifth straight win. On Saturday night they welcomed the Chicago Bulls (26-29, 10-18 road) to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Heading into the contest the Cavs and Bulls had met three times this season, twice in Chicago and once in Cleveland the Cavs had won all three contests. The last meeting was on January 2 which ended up being a historic night as Donovan Mitchell shattered the Cavaliers record book and poured in a career high, and Cavs record 71 points. At one point the Cavaliers trailed by 21 points, but prevailed in overtime 145-134. Mitchell became only the seventh player in NBA history to hit the 70 point mark in a single game.

The meeting Saturday night was the 230th between the two team, the Bulls hold the all-time series edge 132-97. The Cavs however have the edge in Cleveland (Cleveland Arena, Richfield Coliseum, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse) 59-54. The Cavs added another win to their total against the Bulls on Saturday as they came back late to deflated the rested Bulls 97-89 and extend their win streak to six games.

The game was close in the early minutes of the first quarter with the Bulls taking a 13-12 lead with 7:48 left on a layup by Patrick Williams. The Bulls extended their lead to 20-14 with 6:27 remaining in the opening period when Zach LaVine hit a three from the corner. Cavs floor boss JB Bickerstaff had seen enough and called a timeout. During the timeout the Cavs player apparently got the message as they came out and hit two consecutive three’s by Evan Mobley and Mitchell. Mitchell’s three tied the game at 20-20 with 5:09 left. The Bulls responded with five consecutive points to take a 25-20 lead with 4:27 reaming on a jumper by Nikola Vucevic. The quarter ended with the Bulls on top 29-26. Jarrett Allen and Mitchell led all scorers with 10 points apiece in the first quarter. Williams led the Bulls with nine points. Rebounds were close, but the Bulls out worked the Cavs by one 10-9. 

It was apparent early in the second that the Cavs were fatigued. They arrived in Cleveland at 4 am from New Orleans and were playing their fifth game in seven days. The Bulls extended their lead to five at 33-28 courtesy of an Andre Drummond dunk with 10:43 left on the second quarter clock. The Cavs didn’t waste any time tying the game at 33-3 when Allen drained a layup, was fouled and put the free throw in the basket with 9:41. The Bulls regained the lead on a jumper by DeMar DeRozan and then extended it to 39-33 on layups down low by Andre Drummond on two consecutive drive down the floor, the last with 7:53 left in the first half. The Bulls extended the lead to 45-37 with 4:38 left when LaVine drove the lane for a layup. The first half ended with the Cavs trailing by nine at 49-40. Allen led all scorers with 15 first half points. LaVine led the Bulls with 14. The Bulls were dominating the paint outscoring Cleveland 34-20 in the first 24 minutes. The disparity on the boards was even worse in the second quarter as the Bulls outworked the Cavs 17-6 in the second and 27-15 in the first half. The Bulls bench was also doing a better job than Cleveland outscoring them 10-2 in the half.

The second half began with the Bulls extending their lead to 54-42 on a three pointer by DeRozan with 10;27 left in the third. The Cavs got the deficit under double digits with 7:53 when Darius Garland hit a short jumper to make the score 56-48. The Bulls pushed their lead back to 12 at 65-53 with 5:53 left when DeRozan hit two more free throws. The Cavs cut into the Bulls lead with 3:57 left when Mitchell drove the lane for a layup and was fouled. Hitting the free throw the Cavs were down 69-61. Cleveland cut the Chicago lead to six points with 2:42 left when Mitchell falling back hit a jumper in the paint to pull the Cavs to within 71-65. Cleveland then cut the deficit to five at 74-69 with :00.9 left in the quarter courtesy of two free throws by Garland with Chicago hanging onto to a 74-69 lead after three periods. Allen still led everyone with 19 points. Mitchell had 17. DeRozan was pacing the Bulls with 16 through three. Cleveland out rebounded the Bulls in the third 12-11, but still trailed in the game on the boards 38-27. The Bulls through three had turned the ball over 18 times, but the Cavs could only turn them into 15 points.

The Cavs cut the lead to 74-71 just seconds into the 4th on a layup from Allen on a nice pass from Ricky Rubio. The Bulls lead was then one point at 74-73 when Mitchell hit a fadeaway jumper with 10:56 left on the game clock. The next possession former Cav Andre Drummond was called for an offensive foul but the Cavs could not take advantage. After a failed Bulls possession Mitchell hit a three with 9:54 and RMFH exploded as the Cavs had the lead 76-74. It was the Cavs first lead since the 9:16 mark of the first quarter. The Bulls tied the game at 76-76 when Coby White drove the length of the floor for a layup with 8:54 left. The Cavs regained the advantage with 78-76 on a floating jumper by Mitchell with 8:12 left. Bulls head coach Billy Donovan wanted to talk to his team and called a timeout. With the Cavs up 80-76 Donovan was even more unhappy after a foul was called on Vucevic sending Garland to the line. Donovan was accessed a technical and Mitchell hit the free throw. Garland then hit his two free throws to give the Cavs their biggest lead at 83-76 with 7:08 left. Cleveland extended their lead even further on a dunk by Mobley on a nice assist from Mitchell with 6:02 remaining. Cleveland’s lead then expanded to double digits at 89-78 with 4:40 left when Garland drained a three from the top of the arc. The Bulls scored on consecutive possessions cutting the Cleveland lead to 91-82 with 2:56 left after LaVine hit two free throws. The Cavs lead shrunk even further after they failed to score and on the next possession down LaVine went to the foul line again, hitting both make the score 91-84. The LaVine show continued after the Cavs scored on a Allen layup LaVine went right down the floor and hit a three pointer further cutting into the Cavs lead. With 1:55 remaining the Cavs led 93-87. LaVine continued to do everything for the Bulls trimming the Cavs lead to 93-89 with :50 left in the game when he drove the floor hitting a jumper. With :31.5 left Mitchell hit two free throws to give the Cavs a 95-89 lead and then the Bulls turned the ball over on their next possession and with :16 left Mitchell was fouled, he hit them both securing the Cavs 97-89 win.

Mitchell led all scorers with 29 points. Allen also was over the 20 point mark with 23. Garland finished with 19. Mobley was also in double figures with 14. Mitchell and Allen both had double doubles as they each had 10 rebounds. Mitchell also had six assists, Garland led the Cavs with seven assists. LaVine led the Bulls in a losing effort with 23 points. The Bulls did with the overall battle of the boards 44-39, but the Cavs outworked them in the second half helping overcome a nine point deficit at half pulling down 24 boards while Chicago only managed 17 second half rebounds. Cleveland also took advantage of Bulls turnovers turning 23 Chicago turnovers into 21 points. While the Cavs only turned the ball over 13 times accounting for 11 Bulls points.

The Cavs will be in action next on Monday night at 7 pm at RMFH against the San Antonio Spurs (14-42, 5-21 road). 
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​POSTED 02/11/2023 22:46
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