It was supposed to be an easier night for the Chicago Bulls. "Supposed to be" being the key words. After facing a humiliating loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder just days earlier, the Bulls came into tonight's home game against the Kyrie Irving-less Cleveland Cavaliers looking for a bounce back win. But rather than pull off a win against a team that had lost it's past 11 games, the Bulls managed to blow a close game and lost for the eighth time in twelve games.
The game was close towards the end of the fourth quarter. With less than two minutes to play, the Bulls trailed the Cavs by five points and, at one point thanks to missed free throws, made it a one possession game with just over a minute left to play. Unfortunately a heavily contested Luol Deng shot came short and Cleveland finished the game off with free throws. Luke Walton put the nail in the coffin when he forced a steal off of a poor Carlos Boozer inbounds pass (yes, you read that correctly… Luke Walton).
Tonight's game wasn't a matter of the Bulls failing to produce on offense (yet again). Rather the defense and rebounding Chicago is normally known for seemed to abandon the Bulls tonight leaving them looking like complete strangers to fans. In fact, just about everything tonight was the opposite of what we've come to know the Chicago Bulls to be this season.
For the game, the Bulls shot 50% from the field, 42% from beyond the arc, and accumulated 33 assists and only 15 turnovers. Both Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng were also productive for the first time in quite a while as they put up 27 points on 13-of-20 shooting and 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting, respectively.
Despite all of this though, Chicago just couldn't control the game as Cleveland looked to be in the driver seat all night long. From tip off the Cavaliers controlled the pace of the game and out-hustled Chicago on both ends of the floor.
Dion Waiters paced the Cavaliers' offensive attack tonight with 25 points while Shaun Livingston contributed 15 of his own.
Needless to say Chicago will continue to look for answers, outside of players are injured, to get out of the slump they're currently in. Chicago will have the opportunity to bounce back against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night at the United Center.
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