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Bulls vs. Cavaliers final score: Bulls losing ways continue

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Kind of an embarrassing blowout loss in Cleveland tonight. Bulls shot 29% in the first half and stayed around 35% for the whole game. They were totally worked on the offensive glass, for the first half losing exactly half of their available defensive rebounds and settling for only slightly less than that in the second half.

The Cavs big three didn't even play especially well, it was just that the Bulls were doing so poorly (they started the game 1-10 from the field and never led) that it was tough to notice Kevin Love missing countless inside attempts and LeBron coasting quite a bit. Kyrie Irving also had a 1-6 first half, but did have 6 assists.

James, Love and Irving did ultimately combine for 57 points, but it was actually the midseason acquisitions for Cleveland that had the breakout games. J.R. Smith had one of those nights he sometimes does, going 6-9 from three for 20 points. Timofey Mozgov helped in the rebounding edge but also protected the rim quite well (altered some early Rose inside attempts) and shot 7-14. Mozgov, in fact, pretty soundly outplayed Gasol in their one-on-one matchup, as Pau started the game 2-11 and was ineffectual the rest of the way ultimately shooting 4-14 for 11 points.

The Cavs were having their spurts of ineptitude themselves but also hit enough threes and FTs (some were dicey, but only some) to build a 15 point first-half lead. Then a 10-2 Cavs run out of halftime made it a 23-point Bulls deficit.

Derrick Rose shook off his 1-9 first half and hit several three-pointers to try and keep the Bulls at least trading baskets, but the Cavs were matching from distance (Smith, again). It didn't help that the Bulls were also committing ridiculous turnovers.

The Bulls weren't able to chip away much until the 4th quarter was underway and a Brooks/Snell/Butler/Mirotic/Gibson lineup went on a run to cut the deficit to 12. But Cleveland responded with a 7-0 run capped by another Smith three-pointer, and Thibs sort of threw in the towel soon afterwards by not subbing Derrick Rose back in the game (Butler stayed in for 39 minutes and some garbage-time attempts though, with a team-high 20 points on 6-16 shooting).

On what was maybe THE back-breaking Smith three, Mirotic had elbowed LeBron and put him in to the stanchion. So that was neat, as was when Taj Gibson (who started the game great but faded in the 2nd half) smashed his head in Kevin Love's nose. Like, we delivered hard hits and sent a message?

Kidding...the message was the Bulls really miss Joakim Noah to defend and secure rebounds, and Mike Dunleavy for floor spacing. Hinrich was scoreless in over 26 and a half minutes, and Mirotic's only points were when he up-faked a defender for 3 FTs (after getting caught multiple times himself). Tony Snell shot well, 5-8 for 12 points, but had 4 turnovers. Doug McDermott was active tonight for the first time in 5 weeks but didn't play.

The Bulls finally get their first extended schedule break in a long while, as they don't play again until Thursday. That's fine by me. Even missing two important players can completely excuse what we've seen out of the Bulls lately.