The Cleveland Cavaliers will face a short turnaround for Saturday night’s visit from the Chicago Bulls.
Cleveland’s game Friday night, a 118-107 victory at New Orleans, ended after midnight Eastern time.
But for the hot Cavaliers, nothing seems to faze them. They are looking to stretch their winning streak to six — and are looking out for each other.
“We have each other’s backs during the game, after the game, when we go home,” Cleveland’s Jarrett Allen said. “We’re always going to have each other’s backs.”
The Cavaliers raced to a 38-28 lead after the first quarter and maintained the spark for much of the night, shooting 56.5 percent from the field for the game.
“For us, we just want to come out and play hard,” Caris LeVert said. “We did that tonight.”
Donovan Mitchell, who sat out the previous game to rest a groin injury, scored 30 points. Evan Mobley (28 points, 13 rebounds) and Jarrett Allen (20 points, 11 rebounds) added double-doubles.
Mitchell scored 21 points in the first quarter and led five Cavaliers in double figures. LeVert (13 points) and Darius Garland (11) rounded out a balanced attack. Both also helped contribute to it without scoring, combining for 16 of the team’s 28 assists.
Cleveland is aiming to sweep the season series from Chicago after previous victories of 32, one and 11 points.
Hoping to salvage a victory from a three-game trip that started with losses to Memphis on Tuesday and to Brooklyn two night later, the Bulls wouldn’t mind seeing a less-than-peak version of Mitchell.
The All-Star scorched visiting Chicago for a franchise-record 71 points on Jan. 2 to key Cleveland’s 145-134 overtime victory, notching the most points by an NBA player in nearly 17 years.
Still in contention for a playoff spot, the Bulls stand 4 1/2 games out of the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference after the loss to the Nets. Still, players know opportunities are fading as the schedule approaches the All-Star break, and they want more than the play-in spot they currently occupy.
“We’ve got to look at it like a challenge,” said DeMar DeRozan, Chicago’s leading scorer. “Take on the challenge and (not) make it more difficult on ourselves. The room for error is getting slimmer and slimmer. It’s on us to realize it and understand. We can’t rely on somebody else to lose and all this. We’ve got to put the faith in our hands, and that should be the only motivation we need. We need every one of those games.”
Zach LaVine led four Bulls in double figures against the Nets, scoring 38 points on 16-for-25 shooting. Nikola Vucevic had 15 points and 17 rebounds for his seventh consecutive double-double.
“We’ve got to be able to sustain a standard of play over a period of time,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.
The Cavaliers have won six of the past 10 meetings between the teams overall and are 59-54 all-time in home matchups against the Bulls.
–Field Level Media