Cavaliers Hand Bulls Third Straight Loss in Game With Potential Lottery Implications

    CHICAGO - In one set of standings, this game didn't matter. In an entirely different one, it was worth watching. Neither the Bulls nor Cavaliers are in

    January 27, 2019

    CHICAGO – In one set of standings, this game didn’t matter. In an entirely different one, it was worth watching.

    Neither the Bulls nor Cavaliers are in the postseason picture, but both have a chance to continue to progress towards a high lottery selection with a “competitive loss” Sunday.

    Cleveland ultimately prevailed with a 104-101 win over Chicago, handing the Bulls their third straight loss. The Cavaliers got revenge for a 104-88 loss they suffered against the Bulls last Monday.

    Alec Burks hit the go-ahead basket for Cleveland after Robin Lopez blocked Rodney Hood’s layup attempt. Burks finished the game with 18 points and eight rebounds. Zach LaVine, who finished the game with 17 points, had the opportunity to tie the game at the buzzer but missed a 3-pointer.

    [RELATED: Label the Hawks’ Kevin Huerter as just a “shooter” at your own risk]

    Lauri Markkanen continued his hot play of late with 21 points and 15 rebounds. He also hit four 3-pointers, becoming the first player in Bulls’ franchise history to make at least three 3s in seven consecutive games.

    Jordan Clarkson added 18 points, six assists and seven rebounds off the bench for Cleveland. He was a big reason the Cavaliers held a 91-83 advantage early in the fourth quarter.

    The Bulls were without Chandler Hutchison, who suffered a toe injury Wednesday against the Hawks. Hutchison played Friday against the Clippers in spite of the injury, but is now expected to be sidelined for two to four weeks. He was averaging 8.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a starter in the last 11 contests.

    The Bulls are now one game closer to moving into the top three positions in the lottery. With the new lottery regulations kicking in this year, the top three teams will all have equal odds at obtaining the top pick in the draft. Currently, the Cavaliers, Knicks and Suns occupy those spots. Neither team was going to drastically improve its odds based on the result, but both organizations will have a clearer direction as the trade deadline nears.

    The Bulls will likely look for a trade partner for Robin Lopez while the Cavaliers are likely fielding offers on Hood, Burks and Clarkson.

    Chicago will be on the road for the next three contests, starting with the red-hot Nets Tuesday. Cleveland will play its next three contests at home, beginning with Washington Tuesday. These upcoming trips will give both teams the opportunity to solidify their strategies for the rest of the season and make the necessary moves before February 7.

    MORE: Pacers guard Victor Oladipo suffers season-ending knee injury

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