The Cavaliers were down Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. LeBron was on his own. Therefore, the Bulls were able to exploit their depleted roster and win 106 to 94 and return to a .500 of 18-18. Jimmy Butler was, once again, the hero. He scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter after coming off a 52-point fest on Monday night against Charlotte. Without his 10 straight points in the fourth, the Bulls would have had a much more difficult time coming away with the win. Butler also had eight assists and six rebounds.
On the other side of the ball, King James finished the game with 31 points to go along with his eight rebounds and seven assists. However, he was one of only three Cavs to score in double figures. The Bulls had six.
For the fourth straight game, Rajon Rondo, who did not get a “clear-cut message” on his status from his front office meeting, sat out in place of Michael Carter-Williams. He scored 13. Dwyane Wade scored 10 points, but had a +/- rating of -7 against his old friend named LeBron. Taj Gibson was solid as he racked in 18 points and seven rebounds. However, the major reason why the Bulls won came from their bench: Nikola Mirotic dropped 16 points while shooting 50% from the field and Doug McDermott had 17 points and six rebounds.
When these two guys spread the floor and Taj Gibson becomes a factor, then the Bulls look like one of the top teams in the NBA. Despite the fact that Butler had to take control in the fourth, this game proved that the team does not fully have to rely on him to win games. Even though the Cavs cut it to four points in the fourth quarter and while being down Kyrie and K-Love, this win had to feel pretty good.
Chicago has a matchup at home against the surging Toronto Raptors on Saturday night, but we have won nine straight games against them dating back to 2013-14. A win against them and the Cavs on consecutive games would be monumental.