The Cavaliers showed something on Saturday that was missing for most of the first 32 games -- an ability to fight back.
Anytime the Cavs fall behind by double figures this season, it usually means a loss. This one was no different, except that it was. The Cavs trailed the Bulls by 15 entering the fourth quarter, but kept fighting and kept chipping. By the time Antawn Jamison completed a three-point play, that 15-point deficit had been trimmed to three with 2:48 remaining.
Ultimately, the Cavs couldn't get that final push to tie the game or regain the lead. But this is a team that has rallied from a double-digit deficit to win just three times this season: opening night against Boston, on Nov. 24 against Milwaukee and three nights later against Memphis.
Maybe that shouldn't be a shock, since this team only has eight victories in all. But typically a 10 or 12 point deficit seems to be the point of no return for this team, particularly against quality opponents. This time, they gave a very good Bulls team more than they were expecting under the circumstances.
Now the question is how long it will be until Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson can return. Gibson seems a bit closer than Williams, but that might be splitting hairs at this point. As for Anderson Varejao, he can't be fitted for a mask until the swelling goes down in his face. That has yet to happen.
Ultimately, it's loss No. 25 in 33 games. But strangely, when most teams might be tired of trying, the Cavs seem to be giving more effort the worse this gets. Unfortunately, they just don't have anything to show for it yet.
J.J. Hickson 21 points, eight rebounds
Antawn Jamison 19 points, nine rebounds
Leon Powe 14 points, six rebounds
Manny Harris 11 points, three assists
Ramon Sessions 13 points, six rebounds, three assists
Derrick Rose 28 points, 11 assists
Luol Deng 23 points, four rebounds
Carlos Boozer 20 points, 11 rebounds
The Bulls attacked the basket in the third quarter and outscored the Cavs 32-9 to turn a 61-53 halftime deficit into an 85-70 lead and command of the game entering the fourth.
The Cavs shot 3 of 21 from the floor in the third quarter and went nearly seven minutes without a field goal.
They said it
"I thought they came out a little upset the way they played the first half and we came out happy with the way we played. They took it to us and we have to react to it a lot better than what we did."
The Cavs (8-25) host the Dallas Mavericks at 7 p.m. on Sunday.