It took 51 games, but the Cavaliers are now owners of double-digit wins.
On Sunday afternoon in Chicago, the Cavs beat the Bulls to improve to 10-41 on the season. Cleveland led by as many as eight points in a game that was back-and-forth throughout.
Alec Burks — who hit the go-ahead basket with 17 seconds left after Rodney Hood missed a floater — and Jordan Clarkson co-led the Cavs with 18 points each. Cedi Osman, after setting a new career-high in his last two games, finished with 17 points and and eight rebounds.
The wins snaps a six-game losing streak for Cleveland. It’s also the team’s first win against an Eastern Conference foe since a Dec. 18 win against the Pacers.
The Cavs clinched the game at the buzzer when Zach LaVine missed a contested three-point attempt. Cleveland was able to push its lead to three after Kris Dunn forced up a shot with the Bulls down one and missed it — forcing Chicago to send Matthew Dellavedova to the line for two free throws with 4.7 seconds left. He made both, and LaVine had to choice but to take a tough, long three-pointer that didn’t come close.
A key part of the Cavs’ success was their 26 assists on 39 made baskets. Coming into Sunday’s game, Cleveland was second-to-last in assists per game. If the Cavs were to average 26 assists over the course of the season, that would put them at sixth league-wide.
If there’s a downside to the Cavs win, it’s that Collin Sexton sat the final 4:47 in place of Dellavedova. Playing later in the game isn’t always the best thing for a young player, but it’s telling that he wasn’t trusted to be on the court in a close game the Cavs actually had a chance of winning. In 26 minutes, Sexton finished with seven points and three assists on 3-10 shooting.
The Cavs, despite the win, still owns the league’s worst record. A Cleveland next plays on Tuesday at home against the John Wall-less Wizards. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.