David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bulls (9-8) outdueled the Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15) on Wednesday night, thanks to strong performances from Marco Belinelli and Joakim Noah.
The Chicago Bulls slipped below .500 on Nov. 26 after a meltdown loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, but since then Chicago has managed to rise back above the break even mark and assume control of the Central Division. On Wednesday, Anderson Varejao and the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted the Bulls, and Joakim Noah matched Varejao on the glass while Marco Belinelli helped Chicago pull away for a 95-85 win.
Belinelli scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Bulls in his first extended action of the season, while Noah and Varejao both posted impressive double-doubles highlighted by five offensive rebounds and 15 total rebounds each. The two teams combined to shoot 9-for-31 from beyond the arc, but Tom Thibodeau teams don't mind a messy performance as long as a win is waiting on the other side.
Up next for the Bulls is game against the scuffling Pistons on Friday, followed by matchups against the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics and then the Knicks again. That stretch of games should tell fans a lot about what type of team the Bulls are while they wait from Derrick Rose to return.