Rampant Bulls run struggling Cavaliers ragged

Tue Jan 8, 2013 2:30am EST
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(Reuters) - Carlos Boozer and the Chicago Bulls recovered from a slow start to pummel the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers 118-92 on Monday and take over top spot in the Eastern Conference's Central division.

In-form forward Boozer scored a game-high 24 points along with 11 rebounds, while Luol Deng added 19 points as the Bulls recorded their third straight win, and their 11th in a row over the Cavaliers.

Chicago, who upset NBA champions Miami 96-89 on Friday, shrugged off a disappointing first quarter to improve their overall record to 19-13 and dislodge the Indiana Pacers (20-14) from top spot in the Central standings.

"I'm just playing off my team mates," Boozer told reporters after recording his fifth consecutive double-double. "Games like this are fun because everybody played so great. We like moments like this.

"We wish all the games could be like this. We're trying to step it up a little bit and get some more wins. We had a tough last couple of weeks of 2012."

Guard Dion Waiters, off the bench, led the way with 18 points for the Cavaliers, who slipped to 8-28 following their eighth defeat in their last 11 games.

"That's a good team," Cavaliers coach Byron Scott said.

"They've just got our number. In the second half, they just turned it up. Their intensity level went way up, and we just couldn't match it."

EARLY LEAD   Continued...

Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (L) collides with Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer (R) in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida January 4, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity