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Cavs Cruise to 128-96 Victory Over Bulls

After dropping Game 1 of the 2022 campaign against the Toronto Raptors Wednesday, the Cavs were looking to bounce back in the United Center Saturday night against the Bulls, and they did so in a big way, defeating the Bulls 128-96.

Isaac Okoro replaced Darius Garland in the starting rotation after the latter suffered an eye injury in Toronto Wednesday night. The lineup change did not help the team get off to a fast start, as the Bulls dominated the early portion of the first. The Bulls led 12-5 with seven minutes to go in the first before Donovan Mitchell, who slid over to the '1' with Garland injured, once again went on a scoring spree the same way he did in game one, scoring seven straight for the Wine and Golders to cut the lead to two.

A three by Kevin Love off the bench and two more points from Mitchell via free-throws helped the Cavs take an 18-17 lead with four minutes to go. Two more additional three's by Love and two hook shots by Robin Lopez gave the team a four-point advantage, 27-23, with 1:30 to go in the opening quarter. From there, the Cavs made a statement in their black "Statement" jerseys.

They wound up putting up 34 points in the opening frame, outshooting Chicago 62 to 48%. The Cavs shot 83% from behind-the-arc in the quarter. Mitchell and Love each put up nine for Cleveland while Zach LaVine scored eight for the Bulls in his first game of the 2022-23 season.

Mitchell began the second quarter on fire, drilling a three before getting a steal and throwing a dime to Okoro for an assist. He followed that up with a rebound and a beautiful pass to Evan Mobley for the slam, forcing Bulls head coach Billy Donovan to take a quick timeout less than two minutes into the quarter.

The Cavs would continue pouring it on, leading 51-34 with 8:30 to go in the half. The team took a 10-2 bad start and turned it into a 49-24 run in 12 minutes of game action. Within the run, Mitchell had 13 points, Mobley and Love had nine points, and Cedi Osman had seven points to lead the charge. Passing was also a big emphasis in the comeback, as the team had 14 assists through the first quarter and a half, something the Cavs did not do well in Toronto.

The Bulls would attempt to make a comeback near the end of the first half, but they never got the lead to single digits. The Cavs ended up dropping 70 points in the first half and took a 70-54 lead into the break. Mitchell led the team with 18 points and seven assists in the first half, with all of the assists coming in quarter No. 2. As a team, the Wine and Golders shot 63% in half No. 1, including 10/14 (71%) from three point land. The Bulls meanwhile were led by LaVine with 17, but they only shot 47% from the field, including 23% from behind-the-arc.

The Cavs extended their 14-point lead in the second half to 22 with eight minutes to go in the third before the Bulls went on a 15-4 run to cut the Wine and Golders lead in half with six minutes to go in the third. With four minutes to go in the third, after scoring 70 in the first half, the Cavs had only 80 points in the ballgame, and they were shooting 45% from the field in the quarter.

A key and-one by Mitchell drew a technical foul on the Bulls' Nikola Vucevic, allowing Mitchell to put up four points on the possession. When it looked like the Cavs could gain momentum back, Osman fouled Javonte Green on a 3-point shot. After a turnover, Green dunked the ball to cut the lead to single digits with just over 3:30 to go in the quarter. A Caris LeVert steel that leads to a Love three crept the lead back to 12.

Through three quarters, the Cavs kept their 14-point advantage at 93-79. They did a good job defensively on Chicago, They held the Bulls to 46% shooting from the floor. They kept their two biggest stars in LaVine and Demar DeRozan in check, the two combining for only 32 points. They outrebounded the Bulls 31-24. They outscored the Bulls bench by 10. Mitchell led the Cavs in scoring with 26 and assists with eight. Love led the team with 11 rebounds

Early in the fourth, Love continued his hot shooting night, nailing his fifth three to give the Cavs a 98-73 lead. Midway through the fourth, the team had a 107-90 lead. From there, the Cavs cruised to victory 128-96. Mitchell scored 32 for back-to-back nights, but everybody contributed to the double digit victory, as the team had six players in double digits and held Chicago to 41% from the field.

The Cavs will have a chance to take the hardwood again tomorrow night, as they take on the Washington Wizards in the home opener. Tip takes place a little after 7 p.m.


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