Bulls' dominance over Cleveland continues

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Bulls' dominance over Cleveland continues

The Bulls' dominance over the Cleveland Cavaliers continued with a 118-92 blowout at the United Center.

The win was the 11th straight over their Central Division rival, with an average margin of victory of 18 points during that streak.

After a rough first quarter in which they gave up 30 points, the Bulls outscored the Cavaliers 96-62 the rest of the way and punished them in almost every single mismatch they found.

They tied a season high for threes made, going 10-of-14 from deep, outrebounded Cleveland 47-31 and outscored them 54-36 in the paint.

Even with the dominance over Cleveland, the Bulls focus is on the overall improvement of the team.

To a man, everybody is just focused on getting better, said Carlos Boozer, who led the Bulls' charge with 24 points and 11 rebounds, his fifth straight double-double. I think we realize that we have more potential than what we showed the last couple of weeks in 2012. Everybody is just playing better, stepping up, doing a little bit more and its turning into wins for us.

The victory is no surprise, as Cleveland is still firmly in a rebuilding phase and they also were without Anderson Varejao, who leads the league in rebounding.

We just understand personnel, especially when it comes to them, Taj Gibson, who had 18 points and seven rebounds, said. Theyre a conference rival, so we understand what we have to do.

"Tonight, guys were just locked in, especially in shootaround this morning. We understand that we need to take care of every team, especially the teams that are struggling. We just came out full-fledged and got a win.

The Bulls look to continue riding their current momentum when Milwaukee comes to town on Wednesday.

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Jimmy Butler records triple-double as Bulls beat Cavaliers again without LeBron James

Jimmy Butler records triple-double as Bulls beat Cavaliers again without LeBron James

Winning a game against a LeBron James led team has proven to be an easier task than most for the Chicago Bulls in the last couple regular seasons.

And winning without James has proven to be a herculean task for the Cleveland Cavaliers since his return in 2014.

So putting those two events together seemed to produce an inevitable result at Quicken Loans Arena, with James out due to illness, as the Bulls pulled away from the Cavaliers 117-99 Saturday night.

The win marks the fourth straight for the Bulls, pulling them over .500 for the first time in nearly two months and they lead the season series 3-0 over the NBA Champions.

Of course, if James were healthy perhaps the Cavaliers would look more cohesive but without him, only Kyrie Irving was in double figures amongst the starters for most of the night. Irving was unguardable with 34 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

After the lead rose to 20, Irving went to work to get the Cavaliers back in it by scoring eight in the quarter and cutting the lead in half with 2:30 left. But without James, the Bulls were able to hold off the Cavaliers with baskets from 
Cristiano Felicio and Nikola Mirotic, who had his second straight big game with 14 points and 10 boards.

A third-quarter flurry from the Bulls gave them some breathing room after a back-and-forth 24 minutes. The Cavs threatened to blow the game open with a 65-59 lead to start the third but the Bulls quickly turned the tables, getting stops and leaking out for fast breaks.

Dwyane Wade corralled weak-side rebounds and popped it ahead to Butler and Bobby Portis for layups. 

Butler then hit two triples in succession to give the Bulls a 76-67 lead.

He struggled from the field but hit four triples on his way to 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and Wade was one rebound short—one Felicio rebound attempt with seconds remaining, from getting a triple-double with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 34 minutes

But the 3-point shooting has been a welcome addition since the trade of Doug McDermott, their best 3-point shooter.

Denzel Valentine followed up his sterling showing Friday night with another competent and confident performance, hitting three triples to score 11 and at least competing on the defensive end.

Cameron Payne made his debut as a Bull and hit two triples in the first half, both passes off the ball as he hasn't had enough time to grasp the offense, only going through a morning walkthrough with the coaching staff after the team arrived in Cleveland.

All in all, the Bulls had their ninth game with 10 or more triples, hitting 15.