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Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Bulls 98, Cavaliers 87

By Nick Friedell



CLEVELAND -- Let's take a quick look at how the Chicago Bulls earned a 98-87 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

How it happened: Taj Gibson tied a career high with 26 points to lead the Bulls over former teammate Luol Deng and the Cavs. D.J. Augustin had another solid game, scoring 27 points, while Joakim Noah chipped in with nine points, 18 rebounds and six assists as Tom Thibodeau's team ramped up its defense in the second half. Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 20 points, but he scored just two in the second half.

What it means: The Bulls still miss Deng, but they haven't missed him nearly as much as many fans thought because they have players such as Gibson and Noah who still play hard and produce. Most importantly, they still have Thibodeau. He's the one who devised the plan that shut down Deng all night and that made the adjustments to limit Irving in the final 24 minutes. No matter who is hurt (Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich didn't play) or which players may end up also getting dealt, the Bulls will continue to win games because of Thibodeau and his ability to get the most out of his players night to night.

Stat of the night: The Bulls obviously made it a point to contain Deng. He scored 11 points but was just 2-for-11 from the field and didn't have a major impact on the game.

Hits: Mike Dunleavy had 22 points off the bench, going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.

Misses: Jimmy Butler's shooting woes continue. He was just 4-for-12 from the field, including 1-for-7 from behind the 3-point line.

What's next: The Bulls take on the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night in Chicago.