CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Cavaliers learned the hard way Friday night that even without MVP Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls still are one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
With five players in double digits, the Bulls blew out the Cavaliers 115-86 at the Q Friday night, putting the Cavs at 1-1 as they get set to head out on a six-game in 11-day road trip.
“That’s what you call a good old-fashioned butt whooping,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said. “As a young team we have a lot to learn, and as I told them before the game, during the game and at halftime you have to come ready to play hard from the get go, especially against good teams.
“Chicago is a great basketball team, especially on the defensive end, and I don’t think we matched their intensity from the start of the game to the end of the game.”
Chicago outscored the Cavs 32-16 in the first quarter, and put the game away by the half outscoring them 28-19 to take a 60-35 lead at the break.
“We make no excuses in this locker room,” Cavs guard Kyrie Irving said. “We just have to learn from this game and move on, that intensity, we obviously have it, but tonight we just didn’t have it.”
The Cavs were led by Irving with 15 points, and Anderson Varejao and Alonzo Gee each popped in 12. Rookie Dion Waiters had a tough second game as a pro, hitting on just 3-of-7 from the field in scoring seven points.
“Chicago is a great defensive team, they did a great job tonight on us on defense, and we didn’t make shots we normally make,” Waiters said.
The Bulls shot 63 percent, hitting 44-of-69 shots from the field, and the Cavs never challenged them once Chicago got to a double-digit lead in the first quarter.
With plenty of time for the bench players, the Cavs reserves scored 33 points, with C.J. Miles and Tyler Zeller each scoring 8 points.
Rip Hamilton and former Cavalier Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 19 points each, and Nate Robinson came off the bench to pop in 16 for Chicago.
The Cavs shot just 40 percent from the field on 32-for-79 shooting. The Bulls outrebounded the Cavaliers 41-33 on the night.
Varajeo had just five rebounds on the night, this after a career-high 23 on Tuesday in the opener vs the Wizards without an inside presence with Nene out with a foot injury.
Chicago shot 70 percent in the first half, and in those first 24 minutes just once did they miss two shots in a row, showing just how good they were shooting.
The Bulls also had 17 points in the first half off Cavaliers turnovers. The team had ball movement all night, with 34 assists on 44 field goals.
Cleveland just could not match their intensity all night, and it showed. Now they head on the road to see how this young team will quickly try to come of age.
The Cavs start the road trip Saturday night at Milwaukee against the Bucks, who beat the Celtics in Boston on Friday night 99-88.