Bulls, Cavs clash at the United Center
(Sports Network) – The Chicago Bulls shoot for their fifth straight win
today when they close out a three-game homestand versus the Cleveland
Cavaliers at the United Center.
Chicago clinched a playoff spot with Thursday’s 83-81 victory over Central
Division-rival Detroit. Kirk Hinrich sank a pair of free throws with
2.8 seconds remaining in the game to lift the Bulls, who almost squandered a
12-point lead, but tightened the race for division supremacy.
Ben Gordon finished with 25 points, while Luol Deng added 16 points and Ben
Wallace 19 rebounds for Chicago, which won for the eighth time in 10 games
and sits fifth overall in the Eastern Conference.
The Bulls have won three straight at the United Center and are an impressive
28-9 as the host this season.
Cleveland is also headed to the playoffs and is second in the Central
standings, just a half game ahead of the Bulls. The Cavs are struggling as of
late, having lost four of their last six games, including Wednesday’s 97-93
setback to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.
LeBron James posted 24 points and seven assists for Cleveland, which is 1-1 on
a five-game road trip and 16-19 away from home this season. Sasha Pavlovic
scored 20 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 18 in a losing effort.
The Cavaliers are second in the East standings behind Detroit and will also
visit Boston and Minnesota on the current swing.
Saturday afternoon’s showdown between Central Division rivals is the fourth
and final meeting of the regular season. The Bulls lead the season series,
2-1, but Cleveland has won six of nine and eight of the last 12 meetings.
Cleveland has lost four of its last six games in the Windy City.