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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Game 57: Cavs at Bulls

United Center
Radio/TV: WTAM (1100 AM), WFUN (970 AM)/NBA TV, Fox Sports Ohio

WHAT HAPPENED: The Cavs haven't beaten the Bulls since March 19, 2010 - a span of 11 consecutive games. They attempted to stop that nasty streak without their best player, point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed Tuesday's game with a hyperextended right knee.

But they finally prevailed over the Bulls in a nip-and-tuck, rough-and-tumble game.

Fans who voted for this game to be nationally televised by NBA TV probably had second thoughts when they found out All-Star point guards Derrick Rose of Chicago and Irving were going to miss the game. But those fans got a see an intense game. By the way, Rose hasn't played in a game this year after having knee surgery.

Veteran Shaun Livingston made his first start with the Cavs at point guard. He finished with 15 points, two rebounds and two assists.

The players of the game, however, were Dion Waiters and Luke Walton.

Waiters, whose play has picked up in the last few weeks, had a team-high 25 points and two rebounds. He made 10 of 16 from the field.

Walton simply played his butt off. He ended with eight points, five rebounds, a team-high five assists and a steal. Just outstanding.

They might not have won the game without him. His hustle play caused a turnover off Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich with 15.1 seconds left. It was the hustle play of the game.

The Bulls normally just pummel the Cavs with their toughness, execution and superior defense. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is one of the top defensive coaches in the NBA - bar none. The Bulls had beaten the Cavs by a combined 65 points in the previous three games this season.

But the Cavs matched Chicago's aggressiveness and toughness on the night, despite playing without Irving and his 23.3-point average.

The Cavs outrebounded the Bulls, 39-34. They also shot 49.4 percent against Chicago, quite a feat.

The Cavs finished 2-1 on the rough road trip, and really should have won them all. One can really tell this team has turned the corner. They are 9-6 since the Jan. 22 trade that netted center Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington. It has transformed the Cavs' season.

The Cavs are now 9-22 on the road this season.

NEWS FEED: Joe Cowley's story in the Chicago Sun-Times about the Bulls' frustrations.

LAST GAME: The Cavs lost to Miami on Sunday, 109-105.

UP NEXT: The Cavs host Toronto at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

SF Alonzo Gee (6-6, 219) vs. Luol Deng (6-8, 220)
PF Tristan Thompson (6-9, 227) vs. Carlos Boozer (6-9, 266)
C Tyler Zeller (7-0, 250) vs. Joakim Noah (6-11, 232)
G Dion Waiters (6-4, 221) vs. Richard Hamilton (6-7, 197)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 191) vs. Kirk Hinrich (6-4, 190) 
Cavs – C Anderson Varejao, G Josh Selby 
Bulls - G Derrick Rose
Gary Zielinski, Tre Maddox, Leon Wood


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