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Cavs, Bulls tangle in Central Division showdown
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bulls hope a return home will get them back in the win column Saturday night when they welcome the Cleveland Cavaliers to the United Center.
The Bulls just dropped two straight on a short road trip, but that's not the worst of it. Chicago is riding a four-game slide, has dropped seven of eight and 13 of 16.
The Bulls are just 2-8 in December and have lost four consecutive home games to the likes of the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic. Their last win at the United Center came on Dec. 5 when they clobbered the Miami Heat by 20.
Against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, the Bulls fell, 107-95. They are of course without Derrick Rose, but Luol Deng (Achilles), Kirk Hinrich (back) and Jimmy Butler (toe) all missed the game. None are expected to play on Saturday.
"Chicago's a city that deals with a lot of adversity," said Joakim Noah. "I think that we're dealing with a lot of adversity. We just got to go out there and fight. That's the nature of this city."
Noah led the way against OKC with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Taj Gibson added 16 off the bench and newly-signed D.J. Augustin chipped in 15. Carlos Boozer, Mike Dunleavy and Tony Snell also scored in double figures.
The Bulls rank in the top five in opponents' scoring and field-goal percentage, but are 28th in scoring and 29th in their own field-goal percentage.
The Cavs snapped a two-game slide on Friday night with a 114-110 home overtime victory over the Bucks.
Tristan Thompson tipped in a Kyrie Irving miss with 1.8 seconds left to force overtime, then Irving took over in the extra session.
"Kyrie (Irving) got to the basket, down the right side of the floor, went up, missed the layup that he usually makes; acrobatic in the air, but he attacked the glass and I was able to squeeze the ball into the rim," Thompson said of his game-tying tip-in.
With the Bucks down three in overtime, Milwaukee's O.J. Mayo missed two 3- point attempts to secure the victory for the Cavs.
Irving finished with 39 points on 13-for-25 shooting. Jarrett Jack chipped in 17 off the bench, while C.J. Miles netted 15. Earl Clark added 14 and Thompson clocked in a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Dion Waiters missed the game due with a sore wrist and his availability for Saturday is unknown, although it's expected he will sit.
The teams have split both matchups this season, but Chicago has won 11 of the last 13 meetings. The Bulls are 6-1 in their last seven at home in the regular season against the Cavs.
12/21 11:00:49 ET
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