The Cleveland Cavaliers headed to Chicago to face the Bulls Saturday night in the second half of a back-to-back after falling to the Heat Friday night.
The Cavs have been without Caris LeVert(foot) and Jarrett Allen(finger), and they came in even more depleted as Lauri Markkanen missed Saturday’s game after re-aggravating an ankle injury Friday night.
Cleveland trailed by double digits at halftime, and Chicago had their largest lead of 18 points in the fourth and would win 101-91 at United Center.
The Cavs finished their three-game road trip 1-2.
The Cavs(38-29) have now lost two straight and eight of their last 11. Chicago(41-26) has won two in a row.
The Great for the Cavs:
-After a slow shooting start(2-12 in the first half), Darius Garland finished strong. He scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half, including nine in the fourth. He also added seven rebounds and seven assists in 42 minutes of action. Once you become an All-Star, defenses will start to show you more attention, and Garland is getting a lot of attention from opposing defenses.
-Evan Mobley got his third consecutive start at center and, again, played well. Mobley had 17 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks. This was Mobley’s four straight game in double figures.
The Not So Great for the Cavs:
Second Quarter: Things fell apart for Cleveland in the second. They were down 24-22 after one quarter, but their shots did not fall in the second as they were 9/26 from the floor, including 1/11 from downtown. Chicago went on a 15-5 run to start the second and took a 12-point lead, and they led by as many as 13 in the quarter.
After a DeMar DeRozan jumper at the buzzer, Chicago took a 53-42 lead into the break. Cleveland cut the lead to nine on two occasions in the second half, but they never really threatened after the second quarter.
Three-Point Shooting: According to Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Cleveland got good looks from three-point range, but they could not make shots. Cleveland finished 5/24(21%) from deep. Cedi Osman struggled the most as he was 1/8 from downtown.
Turnovers: The Cavs had 18 turnovers against the Heat Friday night and turned the ball over 14 times against the Bulls. That’s 32 turnovers in two games. It’s tough to win against the better teams in the league when you’re turning the ball over at that rate. Garland led the way with six turnovers.
The Bottom Line, it’s time for the Cavs to get home and regroup. Without some of their key players, it’s not surprising that Cleveland lost to the Heat and Bulls on the road. They did battle, but they just did not have enough.
Fortunately for the Cavs, they get to go home for five straight and eight of their next nine, so that’s an opportunity for them to possibly solidify that six spot in the East and avoid the Play-In Tournament.
As for the standings, things are starting to tighten up for that sixth spot in the East. The seventh-seeded Raptors(37-30) have won three straight and are now one game behind the Cavs for the sixth seed. Remember, only the top six teams in each conference are guaranteed a playoff spot.
Cleveland begins a five-game homestand starting Monday night against the Clippers.
Best of the Rest:
-DeRozan led the Bulls with 25 points; Nikola Vucevic chipped in with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Ayo Dosunmu added 17 points.
-Kevin Love, who started for Markkanen, had 10 points and 11 rebounds. Osman added 14 points off the bench.
-Rajon Rondo left in the third quarter and did not return after rolling his ankle.
Watch below as Kevin Love talks loss to Bulls: