On a night when the Cleveland Cavaliers kept the likely 2011 NBA MVP in check, it was an old ‘friend’ that led the Chicago Bulls to a 93-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers down at Quicken Loans Arena. Carlos Boozer scored 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds to lead the Bulls who clinched the top-spot in the Eastern Conference with the win.
Ronnie Brewer had 12 points, while Derrick Rose tallied 11 points and eight assists in Chicago’s sixth straight win. It’s the first time they’ve captured bragging rights in the East since the 1997-98 season, when the Michael Jordan- led Bulls won their third straight and sixth NBA title in eight years.
Luol Deng had 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Bulls, who will play Indiana in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulls beat Indiana in seven games in the East finals in 1998.
J.J. Hickson ended with 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who had won their previous two games. Cleveland was swept in four games by the Bulls this season. Chicago won all the games in the season series from Cleveland for the first time since winning all four meetings in the 1995-96 campaign.
Boozer had eight points in the final quarter on 4-of-5 shooting. The rest of the team went 3-for-14 in the period, but the Bulls still maintained a double- digit lead most of the quarter.
A jumper from Brewer expanded the margin to 87-71 with 4 1/2 minutes left but Cleveland came back with a 9-2 burst, capped by a Daniel Gibson three-pointer with 2:21 left. The rally came too late for the Cavs.
Chicago scored 10 in a row during one stretch of the opening quarter for a 24-14 lead. The visitors were up, 29-26, after 12 minutes.
The Bulls led by as many as 14 in the second and carried a 54-46 advantage into the half. It was 78-63 going to the fourth.