The Cleveland Cavaliers dropped a game on national television to the Chicago Bulls Saturday night 117-99. LeBron James missed the game with an illness, and with Kevin Love still out while recovering from knee surgery the Cavs were severely undermanned. Kyrie Irving played well but his supporting cast was simply not enough to overcome Jimmy Butler and throwback game from Dwayne Wade.
The first half was a closely contested battle between two teams that looked to be even matched. Wade and Butler were both performing well on the national stage. The third quarter is really where the wheels fell off for Cleveland. Butler scored 13 in the frame and the Cavs saw their one point halftime lead become an 13-point deficit by the time the quarter ended. In the fourth the Bulls continued to uncharacteristically shoot well from three and put the game away. Nobody likes to see their team lose, but the Bulls played much better than the Cavs on Saturday night. Plus it is hard to get riled up of the result of a game in which Kay Felder and James Jones see sizable minutes for the Cavs.
Of note in the game Derrick Williams continued his good performance for the Wine and Gold since joining the team. Williams recently signed a second 10-day contract with the team and it seems as if he will be with the team throughout the end of the year. His rebounding ability and penchant for converting when he gets to the rim are welcome skills. It should be noted that Kyle Korver and Williams both suffered lower buddy injuries in the game. We will wait and see and what, if any, the long term prognosis of those are.
Perhaps overshadowing the game itself was the news that the Cavaliers would be signing five time all-star and University of Illinois great Deron Williams for the remainder of the season. Kay Felder’s subpar performance against the Bulls highlighted why brining in a player of Williams caliber is such a coup for the Cavaliers. While Williams best days are surely behind him he is an elite operator of the pick-n-roll and should boost the playmaking opportunities that the Cavs get from the backup point guard position. The Cavs might have lost the actual game they played on Saturday, but there is no doubt Cavaliers fans will remember Feb. 25 as a winning day for the franchise.
The Cavaliers are back in action Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. Hopefully LeBron will be feeling better and NBA fans get to see The Greek Freak vs The King part II.