There were some good vibes surrounding the Bulls after their gritty win over the Celtics, so naturally those went totally out the window in a truly appalling 121-105 loss to the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
This game was ugly from the start. The Bulls put forth their worst quarter of the season in the first, getting outscored 34-12 in their lowest scoring frame of 2020-21. They turned the ball over seven times and missed all eight of their 3-pointers, while Collin Sexton and Darius Garland sliced and diced the defense (no Troy Brown Jr. in this one).
A 25-point deficit was trimmed to 12 in the final minute of the first half, only for the Cavaliers to close the half on a 5-0 run as the Bulls went full disaster mode, complete with an awful Nikola Vucevic inbound turnover. Cleveland then took its 61-44 advantage at the break and blew Chicago out in the third quarter as Garland put on a show. The Cavaliers opened up a 33-point lead at one point before going into the final quarter with a 99-72 lead.
The Bulls had one last surge in them thanks to some hot shooting in garbage time by Lauri Markkanen and Tomas Satoransky, making it a 15-point deficit with 5:33 to play. Denzel Valentine then had an open look from deep that would have made it a 12-point game, but he missed it and moments later Garland put the final nail in the coffin with another deep triple to push the margin back out to 20.
Sexton and Garland roasted the Bulls all night long, combining for 55 points and 11 assists while shooting 19-of-30 from the field and 7-of-9 from 3-point range. Coby White was burned over and over again, while Garrett Temple had himself a rough game after he was a hero against the Celtics. The lack of Brown meant a lot of Valentine, and he was atrocious. Plus, there were Ryan Arcidiacono minutes.
Markkanen led the Bulls with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 4-of-5 from 3, but these were all basically garbage time points and he did very little else. He didn’t even record another stat until the fourth quarter. Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky both hit double figures as well off the bench, but they both had a number of bad turnovers as the Bulls racked up 20 of them, leading to 23 Cavaliers points.
Speaking of turnovers, Vucevic had five of them in his worst game as a Bull. He managed just nine points on 4-of-12 shooting and 1-of-5 from 3, ending a streak of 106 consecutive games in double figures. Vooch was frustrated early in this one and even picked up a technical foul.
Patrick Williams did have a really nice stretch in the first half and had nine points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in just 19 minutes, but he racked up three turnovers of his own. There were just so many careless giveaways in this one, plus a lackadaisical defensive effort after all the hubbub about their last couple games without Zach LaVine. The Cavaliers shot 51.1% from the field and 16-of-36 from 3-land.
The Bulls are 24-34 on the season. With the Wizards and Raptors both winning, Chicago is in 12th place in the East. The Hornets are up next on Thursday. Toss this one in the trash.