With Kevin Love still out with a knee injury and LeBron James taking the night off due to an illness the Chicago Bulls where able to pull away from the Cleveland Cavaliers late and pick up there 4th win in a row 117-99 in the NBA primetime Saturday night game.
The biggest lead either team could get out to was six points when the Cavaliers took a 20-14 lead with 2:31 left in the quarter. There where four ties in the quarter and the Bulls only lead twice. Most importantly they led at the end of the quarter 23-22 after Nikola Mirotic hit a 3-pointer with :01 second left in the quarter to give the Bulls the lead.
The 2nd quarter played out very similar to the 1st quarter. The biggest lead that any team could build was again six points. This time it was the Bulls who took the six point lead at 28-22 with 10:55 left in the quarter. There where five ties and as well as five lead changes, but this time it was the Cavaliers who ended up with the lead at the end of the quarter at 56-55.
Cleveland went out to an early six point lead at 65-59 with 9:15 left in the quarter. The Bulls then went on a 17 to 2 run to take the lead at 76-67 and began to build there lead. Cleveland cut the lead to five points, but the Bulls scored the next six points to go up by 11 points. After Rajon Rondo hit a jumper with the quarter expiring the Bulls had there biggest lead of the quarter at 89-76.
With two of there big three out the Cavaliers had no answer for the Bulls on this night as Cleveland could never get closer than 11 points. The Bulls outscored the Cavaliers 28 to 23 in the final quarter as they built to there winning margin of 18 points. Chicago actually scored the final eight points of the game to make the final score 117-99.
Dwayne Wade led the Bulls in scoring with 20 and missed a triple-double by 1 rebound. While Wade just missed a triple-double his teammate Jimmy Butler got one. Butler had 18 points to go with 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Robin Lopez was the other Bulls starter to score in double figure getting 10 points. Off the bench the Bulls saw Rajon Rondo (15 points), Nikola Mirotic (14 points), Denzel Valentine (11 points) and Cristiano Felicio (10 points) all reach double figures. Butler and Mirotic each had 10 rebounds to tie for the game high while it was Butler and Wade with 10 assist apiece to tie for the game high in that category.
Kyrie Irving was the Cavaliers and the games high scorer with 34 points. Irving also handed out a team high 7 assists and tied for the team lead in rebounds with 9. James Jones and Kyle Korver came off the Cavaliers bench to score 14 points apiece while Channing Frye added 11 points. Tristan Thompson tied with Irving for the team lead in rebounds with 9.
The win puts the Bulls a game over .500 at 30-29. The Cavaliers are still leading the Eastern Conference, but the loss dropped there record to 40-17. The Bulls return home to put there four game winning streak on the line Tuesday night when they host the 26-32 Denver Nuggets. This game was the first of a back to back for the Cavaliers. They should have LeBron James back tonight as they host the 25-31 Milwaukee Bucks.