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Bulls 115, Cavs 86

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND - Don't shed any tears for the Chicago Bulls.

Sure, they are missing their best player in point guard Derrick Rose, who is recovering from a torn ACL.

But this is still a formidable opponent. Just ask the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Bulls toyed with the Cavs on Friday, winning 115-86 before a sell-out crowd at Quicken Loans Arena.

Chicago (2-0) has beaten the Cavs nine times in a row. In the last four outings versus the Bulls, the Cavs have been outscored by a combined 121 points. Rose didn't played in three of those four games.

The Cavs (1-1) haven't beaten their Central Division opponent since March 19, 2010.

The Bulls, who had the best record in the NBA last season, were led by guard Richard Hamilton and power forward Carlos Boozer with 19 points apiece. Boozer, a second-round pick of the Cavs in 2002, was a beast around the basket with seven rebounds and six assists.

Guard Nate Robinson came off the bench to score 16 points and dish out a game-high 12 assists for Chicago. He started the second half, as starter Kirk Hinrich was in foul trouble.

Chicago shot a blistering 63.8 percent from the field.

Coach Tom Thibodeau is all about rugged, aggressive defense, and his Bulls were on top of their game on Friday. They held the Cavs to 40.5 percent shooting, and the Cavs had trouble running their offensive sets. Every time they'd run a play, one of the Bulls were in the passing lanes or impeding their path to the basket.

Cavs coach Byron Scott benched all his starters in crunch time and went deep into his bench. The starters did nothing but get totally outplayed by the Bulls.

Guard Kyrie Irving paced the Cavs with 15 points and four assists. But he shot 6 of 15 from the field and turned the ball over four times.

Center Anderson Varejao, fresh off his 23-rebound performance against Washington on Tuesday, finished with 12 points and five rebounds.

Forward Alonzo Gee added 12 points for the Cavs.

The first half was 24 minutes of futility for the Cavs. They were blown out of their own gym by the Bulls 60-35.

They held the Cavs to 30.8 percent shooting in the first half and forced 11 turnovers.

Boozer and Robinson each had 12 points in the first half for Chicago. They also beat up the Cavs on the boards, 24-16, as Taj Gibson had five rebounds.

The Bulls doubled up the Cavs in the first quarter 32-16. The Cavs had nine turnovers in the first quarter and shot just 31.6 percent from the field. The Bulls, on the other hand, shot a scorching 73.7 percent from the floor.

NOTES: The Cavs embark on a six-game, 12-day trek on Saturday in Milwaukee. "With a young team like this, you just want to see how they react to certain things," Scott said. "One of the first things I talked to the coaching staff about is, 'If we lost three straight, four straight, how do they react?' " The Cavs fly to the West Coast and back on this trip. The final game on the road trip ends in Brooklyn on Nov. 13. ... Scott is happy to be on the trip for another reason. He gets to see his 6-month-old granddaughter, Kyla, in Los Angeles on Sunday. ... The Cavs game at Memphis on Monday, Nov. 26, will no longer be televised on NBA TV. ... Lauren Holtkamp, the new female ref this year, worked for the first time at The Q. She's one of two female refs now in the league. Violet Palmer is the other.
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