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Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Cavaliers 101, Bulls 98

By Nick Friedell



CHICAGO -- Let's take a quick look at how the Cleveland Cavaliers squeaked out a 101-98 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night at the United Center.

How it happened: Dion Waiters dropped in 25 points as the Cavs earned an impressive win without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Wayne Ellington added 13 points and six rebounds off the bench. Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 27 points and five rebounds while Luol Deng added 26 points, but it wasn't enough as the Bulls dropped a game they needed.

What it means: The Bulls have played up and down to the level of their competition all season, but this loss will disgust Tom Thibodeau more than most because the Bulls needed this one as they head into a tough stretch of games in the next few weeks. The Bulls offense struggled to find any consistency and the defense did not play with its typical edge. The Bulls allowed the Cavs to control the momentum and it was clear they missed Taj Gibson's presence. They looked tired most of the night. It appears as if all the minutes, all the injuries and the rough travel schedule have started to catch up with Thibodeau's team.

Hits: Kirk Hinrich was solid in his return from continued elbow problems, scoring 11 points, dishing out 11 assists and pulling down six rebounds.

Misses: Joakim Noah looked sluggish throughout the night, scoring just nine points and grabbing nine rebounds in 41 minutes.

Stat of the night: The Bulls led in assists 33-18 … and they still lost.

What's next: The Bulls take on the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.