Cavaliers Beat the Bulls 109-95: Game Recap 12/23/23

December 23, 2023

Andy Billman

Post-Game Recap

3 Key Factors Around the Victory

1 – Another team effort

The Cleveland Cavs, down four players who play significant minutes, got a huge night from Jarrett Allen, who had a double-double with 19 points and 17 rebounds.  Also, Max Strus chipped in with a team-high 26 points and Craig Porter Jr. had 19 points and eight assists.

2 – No Mitchell, Merrill or LeVert

On Saturday, along with the injuries to Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, the Cavs were without Donovan Mitchell, Caris LeVert, and Sam Merrill.  

3 – Rebounds

Not only did Cleveland make critical contributions in the scoring department, but as a team, the Cavs outrebounded the Bulls 49 to 37. 

Game Summary

Max Strus contributed 26 points and seven assists, propelling the injury-ridden Cleveland Cavaliers to a 109-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday night.

This defeat marked only the fourth loss in 12 games for the Bulls since Zach LaVine’s absence due to inflammation in his right foot.

DeMar DeRozan led the Bulls with 21 points, while Nikola Vucevic added 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Jarrett Allen notched an impressive 19 points and 17 rebounds, with Craig Porter Jr. chipping in 19 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds for the Cavaliers. Notably, the Cavaliers played without their top four scorers—Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, and Caris LeVert—whose combined average is 78 points.

Mitchell, a four-time All-Star, missed his third consecutive game due to illness, while Garland (jaw fracture) and Mobley (knee surgery) are expected to be sidelined until at least February. LeVert, listed as questionable, sat out the game due to left knee tendonitis.

Despite the mounting injuries, Cleveland has secured victories in four of its last five games.

Cleveland was also without Sam Merrill, who, after a career-high performance with 27 points and eight 3-pointers against Utah, failed to score in Thursday night’s loss to New Orleans. Merrill was added to the injury report with a wrist issue sustained from a fall against the Jazz and was a late scratch with the injury.

In the third quarter, Strus, a former Bull, executed a dunk on Vucevic, initially called an offensive foul. Cleveland challenged the call, leading to an overturned decision, granting the Cavs a 65-60 lead. Vucevic, despite the fall, stayed in the game and responded with a 3-pointer. Later in the quarter, Strus made a 3, and Georges Niang’s basket extended Cleveland’s lead to 80-70 with 1:09 remaining in the quarter.

Although Porter missed a chance for a three-point play to start the third quarter, Tristan Thompson’s tip-in salvaged the opportunity. Damian Jones followed with a 3, pushing Cleveland’s lead to 89-72 with 10:55 left.

Patrick Williams narrowed the Cleveland lead to 90-85 with 7:08 remaining, but Strus, the former DePaul and South Suburban high school star, countered with eight consecutive points.

Up Next

At Dallas on Wednesday night.

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