Before the Cavaliers tried for the 12th time to beat the Chicago Bulls, coach Byron Scott gathered his players together Tuesday morning and told them it was time to stand up to the bully.
With Kyrie Irving sidelined, the Cavs finally threw the last punch – and the wily veteran was the one swinging.
Rookie Dion Waiters scored 25 points in Irving’s absence and Luke Walton made a huge steal late to preserve the Cavs’ 101-98 victory over the Bulls on Tuesday, ending an 11-game skid against a team that had won the last six meetings by an average of 27 points.
The fact they did it without Irving made it all the more startling.
Irving injured the knee in practice on Friday when he banged knees with Omri Casspi, then tried to play through it during the weekend games at the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.
“If it continues to get worse, he’s probably going to have to sit out a whole lot longer than expected,” Scott said. “So right now our medical team thought it would be a good idea to rest him the next couple days, see where he is and go from there.”
Irving is listed as questionable for tonight’s home game against the Toronto Raptors, although he seems unlikely to play. The Cavs will take Thursday off before hosting the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
Without their star, the Cavs needed everyone else to topple a team that has routinely abused them for the last three years. Tuesday’s victory was the first since the first-round playoff series between these two teams in 2010.
Walton was terrific most of the night, logging nearly 24 minutes after Tristan Thompson fell into foul trouble. Walton had eight points, five rebounds, five assists and a crucial steal off an inbounds play late in the game that preserved the victory.
Cavaliers 101, Bulls 98: Dion Waiters steps up to deliver win over Bulls
Akron Beacon Journal | Feb 27