CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers might not play too many games in which they’re favored this season. They dropped one of those games Sunday night in one of their uglier losses of the season.

Despite some promising runs, the Cavs couldn’t overcome a poor finish to the third quarter and fell 112-92 to the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Cavs and Bulls entered the game with identical 8-25 records, but the presence of Lauri Markkanen, Justin Holiday and others was enough to outpace the struggling Cavs, who didn’t have the kind of energy coach Larry Drew was hoping to see.

“It’s a disappointing loss,” Drew said. “As I told the guys [after the game], I really thought we would come out and play with a little bit more energy, a little bit more enthusiasm. ... I just thought we would play a little more inspired basketball, and that was the really disappointing part about a loss like this.”

Still, the Cavs led 67-66 halfway through the third quarter on a dunk by Larry Nance Jr. From there, though, it was all Bulls, who went on an 18-7 run to end the quarter and take command of the game. The Cavs ended the night with as many turnovers (11) as assists.

Nance paced the Cavs with 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting to go with six rebounds and three steals. Jordan Clarkson contributed 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Cedi Osman added 17 points and six rebounds.

“We got away from what was keeping us in the game,” Nance said. “We were playing, don’t want to say we were playing the best of defense, but we made it tougher for them. Then in the second half, we took bad shots and/or turnovers, which just let them get run-outs, layups, 3s. Second half was an onslaught.”

The back-breaking sequence came late in the quarter with the Cavs trailing 77-72. Markkanen, who didn’t suit up the first time the two teams met this season, buried a 3-pointer on which he was fouled and then made the free throw for a four-point play. On the Bulls' next possession, Holiday hit a 3-pointer to extend the Bulls’ advantage to 84-72.

Drew said before the game that the Cavs needed to prevent Markkanen from getting going as a dangerous offensive threat.

“We can’t let a guy like that get started because he has the ability to really put points on the board and he can really affect the game both inside and out,” Drew said before tipoff.

Things didn’t go as planned. Markkanen had his way with the Cavs, pouring in a game-high 31 points, including five in the first two minutes that helped the Bulls to a 10-5 lead and then the key four-point play in the third quarter.

Nwaba injured

Cavs guard David Nwaba, who was doubtful with a left ankle sprain but ended up playing, went down with 7:56 left in the fourth quarter with an aggravation of that ankle injury. He was down for a few moments before being helped off the floor.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Cavs blog at www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.