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Bulls 95, Cavaliers 85

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CLEVELAND -- The Chicago Bulls haven't lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in more than two calendar years.

They extended their winning streak over the Cavs to 10 consecutive games with a 95-85 decision Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs' last win in the series was March 19, 2010.

The Central Division-leading Bulls (9-8) were playing without their starting backcourt of Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton. However, that didn't matter.

Chicago received strong efforts from point guard Kirk Hinrich (11 points, game-high eight assists) and shooting guard Marco Belinelli (game-high 23 points).

The Cavs (4-15) narrowed the deficit to 64-59 with 1 minute, 51 seconds left in the third quarter. Hinrich scored six points in the remainder of the quarter as the Bulls stretched their lead to 72-63 entering the fourth.

All five Chicago starters scored in double figures. Small forward Luol Deng finished with 22 points and seven rebounds. Power forward Carlos Boozer, a former second-round draft pick of the Cavs, was strong on the boards with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Joakim Noah added 13 points and 15 rebounds.

Cleveland center Anderson Varejao posted his 10th double-double in a row with 11 points and a team-high 15 rebounds. He is one double-double shy of the team record set by center Elmore Smith during the 1978 season. He came into the game leading the league in rebounds at 15.4 per game.

The Bulls shot 47 percent from the field and outrebounded the Cavs, 45-41.

Cavs backup point guard Donald Sloan had a season-high 14 points and three assists. Power forward Tristan Thompson added 11 points and five rebounds.

Cavs point guard Jeremy Pargo added a little fuel to the fire in the fourth quarter when he was fouled hard by Belinelli, then fired a behind-the-back pass that hit Belinelli in the face. He was given a technical foul.

The Cavs tightened up their defense in the second quarter, which allowed them to trim their deficit to 45-35 at halftime. They outscored the Bulls in the second quarter 24-18, limiting the Bulls to 35 percent shooting.

Sloan led the charge with 10 points in the second quarter, which matched his season high. He made two of three from behind the 3-point arc.

Scott said he wanted to start Daniel Gibson at shooting guard so the Cavs wouldn't get off to a slow start. Cleveland still stumbled out of the blocks. The Bulls vaulted to a 27-11 advantage after the first quarter, with the Cavs shooting just 31 percent from the field. The Bulls made a torrid 67 percent.

Belinelli had 10 points for the Bulls in the first quarter, while Hinrich dished out seven assists.

NOTES: Hamilton has a torn plantar fascia in his left foot. The Bulls list him as day-to-day. Coach Tom Thibodeau said he'd be sidelined another week or two. Hamilton has been replaced in the starting lineup by Belinelli. Hamilton was the Bulls' second-leading scorer at 13.9 points. ... Gibson replaced injured rookie Dion Waiters at shooting guard against the Bulls. Waiters has missed the last two games with a sprained left ankle. "He still needs some more time," Scott said. "The swelling has gone down. He still has significant soreness in there." Scott said he didn't consider starting the slumping C.J. Miles. "If I understood why he was struggling, I could help him more," Scott said. "You have to find a way to fight through it. He hasn't played up to par. He's been in one system for seven years. It still takes time to get used to (the Cavs' system)." ... The Bulls are still a bit hot under the collar about the no-call at the end of the Pacers game Tuesday at the United Center. Forward Luol Deng appeared to get hammered with time running out, but the whistle wasn't blown. The Bulls lost, 80-76. ... The Cavs asked all three rookies -- Tyler Zeller, Kevin Jones and Waiters -- to push a pink baby stroller to the game. Scott said he did the same initiation when he was the coach in New Orleans. ... There was a large contingent of Canton Charge coaches and front-office personnel at the game to watch Jones, who was recalled from the D-League team Tuesday. "He's a pretty good basketball player," Scott said. "He's a hustle and board guy. From 15-19 feet, he can make that shot. Around the basket, he can finish. That's something we've been having trouble with. We'll see if it transfers to this level. We saw it in practice and in the D-League. But here, he'll be going against 7-footers." ... Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving has begun to practice, but still hasn't been cleared for contact drills. "I know he's anxious," Scott said. "We're not going to take any chances. We'll leave it up to the doctors. He has to get at least one practice in. The chance of him coming back early, I don't know." Irving has a hairline fracture of his left index finger. Doctors estimated he'd miss four weeks. He's been out since Nov. 17.
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