Cavaliers face slumping Bulls Tuesday night
Feb 26, 2013 at 9:25a ET
The slumping Chicago Bulls are coming off the worst shooting display in the NBA this season, but they posted the best effort in the league in 2012-13 during an earlier matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Chicago tries to bounce back from a forgettable performance as it opens a three-game homestand seeking a 12th consecutive win over Cleveland on Tuesday night.
The Bulls (32-24), averaging 92.5 points to rank near the bottom of the NBA, have been limited to 87.6 per game during a 3-6 stretch. Things got especially ugly for Chicago in a 102-72 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.
Nate Robinson had 13 points and shot 2 of 14 as the Bulls were held to 29.06 percent from the field - their lowest mark in nine seasons and slightly worse than Charlotte's 29.11 effort versus the Thunder in November.
"It was bad tonight," Joakim Noah told the team's official website after scoring eight points and going 2 of 9 from the field. "We took steps backward. That's what's frustrating. There's really no excuse. We've just got to bounce back ASAP.
" ... It's not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. We've got a home stretch coming up and things move fast in this league. We've got to bounce back fast."
Chicago, which continues to play without Derrick Rose, was also missing Kirk Hinrich for the 10th time in 11 games due to a sore right elbow. The Bulls could be even more short-handed Tuesday with Taj Gibson uncertain to play.
The reserve forward had eight points and went 2 of 11 from the floor before leaving Sunday with a sprained left knee.
"We've got enough. We have to do our jobs. We've shown when we do that, we're capable of beating anyone," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We have to be mentally tougher, we have to be stronger. When you face a little bit of adversity with whatever, when you're short-handed, you have to dig down and get the job done."
Chicago has certainly taken care of business against Cleveland (18-38) of late. The Bulls have shot 50.5 percent and outscored the Cavaliers by an average of 17.8 points during their 11-game winning streak in the series.
Included in that run is a 115-86 road victory Nov. 2. Chicago went 44 for 69 from the field for the highest field-goal percentage (63.8) by any team this season.
Cleveland posted back-to-back wins over New Orleans and Orlando before coming up short 109-105 at Miami on Sunday. The Cavaliers, who trailed by 22 in the third quarter, led by eight with under five minutes to go but couldn't hold on.
"You can't give up easy baskets," coach Byron Scott said. "We had a very good chance against a very good basketball team, the world champions, and we lost the game because of mental mistakes. That's just something that we can't have happen again."
Rookie Dion Waiters, averaging 18.5 points and 51.7 percent shooting over the last four games, scored a team-high 26. C.J. Miles made five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points off the bench.
Kyrie Irving, sixth in the league with 23.3 points per game, scored 17 and is averaging 16.1 and 35.9 percent from the field during the last nine losses. In contrast, he's scored 30.2 per game during Cleveland's past 11 wins.
Irving has scored 15 points in each of his two matchups with Chicago this season, going a combined 10 for 26 (38.5 percent) from the floor.