- Nick Friedell, ESPN Staff Writer
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How it happened: After playing lethargic basketball for 24 minutes, Tom Thibodeau somehow got through to his team at halftime. They blitzed the Cavs on both ends of the floor in the third quarter, finally finding the energy they had been lacking most of the night. To put the third quarter into perspective, the Bulls shot 62 percent from the field, while the Cavs shot 14 percent (3-for-21). Derrick Rose finished with his usual 28 points and 11 assists, taking over the game at times in the second half.
What it means: It was yet another ugly win. Aside from the third quarter, the Bulls didn't play particularly well. Stop me if you've heard this before… the bottom line is that if the Bulls play like this against elite level teams, they aren't going to win. The Cavs aren't good. I know the Bulls’ record (22-10) looks nice right now, but come playoff time, they can't expect to play this way and win. Granted, they are still playing without Joakim Noah, but playing inconsistently is not a trend Thibodeau wants his team to start in the new year.
Stat of the night: The Bulls outscored the Cavs 32-9 in the third quarter.
What's next: The Bulls take a day off Sunday before hitting the practice floor Monday afternoon. They'll be looking for their fifth win in a row when the Toronto Raptors come to town on Tuesday night.