The shorthanded Cleveland Cavaliers(17-27) went into Chicago(19-24) to battle the Bulls on Wednesday night, and while they did not have their leading scorer Collin Sexton, who was out due to a sore hamstring, they did have Darius Garland, Larry Nance Jr., and Jarrett Allen, who all did their part.
Cleveland had five guys in double figures against the Bulls. Led by Garland, who had 22 points and nine assists, Nance Jr. chipped in with 14 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists, and Allen contributed 19 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks as the Cavs defeated the Bulls on the road 103-94.
Without Sexton, Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff knew he needed everybody else to step up, and they did.
“Our guys did a heck of a job,” Bickerstaff said. “It wasn’t going to be one person that fills that void. It was going to have to be a bunch of different people that step up. You look up and down our boxscore; we had five guys in double figures…We had a bunch of guys who contributed tonight.”
Defensively, Cleveland got a big effort from rookie Isaac Okoro, who held Chicago’s leading scorer Zach LaVine to 8-20 shooting from the field. LaVine did have 22 points, but only four points in the second half. The Cavs defense played well as a whole and held the Bulls to 17 points in the third quarter, which helped Cleveland take a 78-72 lead into the fourth quarter.
Now, for Cleveland, their attention turns to the trade deadline, which is Thursday at 3 P.M. ET. Cavaliers reserve center JaVale McGee did not play on Wednesday night. When asked why McGee did not play against Chicago, Bickerstaff said the following:
“We are concentrating on the guys that were playing tonight,” he said. “We’ll focus on that, and I let (Cavs GM)Koby(Altman) answer any of those other questions.”
The 33-year-old McGee will probably be on the move, but just like every year near the trade deadline, there are usually more rumors than actual deals, but we’ll see what happens with McGee.
Also, we’ll see what happens with Andre Drummond, who has not played since mid-February as the team looked to trade the two-time All-Star. Will he get dealt, or will Cleveland buy him out?
We’ll find out soon enough.
-Cavs continue their four-game road trip on Friday night against the Lakers.
-With the win against Chicago on Wednesday night, Cleveland moved to 2.5 games behind the Bulls for the 10th and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.