Bulls coast without Rose, embarrass Cavs 114-75

By Tom Withers

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 20 2012 9:11 p.m. MST

Chicago Bulls' Joakim Noah (13) drives to the lane against Cleveland Cavaliers' Semih Erden (9), of Turkey, in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Cleveland on Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.

Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Derrick Rose watched. The Bulls waltzed.

Luol Deng scored 21 points, Carlos Boozer added 19 and 14 rebounds, and Chicago coasted without their superstar guard, embarrassing Cleveland 114-75 on Friday and handing the Cavaliers' their most lopsided home loss in team history.

Rose missed his third straight game with a strained left big toe, but the Bulls barely missed the NBA's reigning MVP. Cleveland lost by 35 at home in 1990 and 2001.

"We know we've got to step up without him out there," Boozer said. "Everybody did a great job. Our starters played great. Our bench played great. It was one of those nights where everything was clicking like clockwork."

Chicago, which has the league's best record at 14-3, built a 42-point lead in the fourth quarter when all the Bulls' starters were lounging in sweats and getting some needed rest with four games ahead in the next seven days.

The Bulls, who set a franchise record with 16 blocks, put their depth and talent on display — shock and awe.

"Deepest team I've ever played on, 100 percent," Boozer said. "Other than All-Star and Olympic teams, this is the deepest team. Most teams go to their bench and hold their own. We got to our bench and they can open the lead."

Anderson Varejao scored 14 points and rookie Kyrie Irving added 13 for the Cavs, who began a challenging stretch after a fairly easy schedule through the first 14 games. Eight of Cleveland's next nine opponents made the playoffs last season.

Afterward, Cavs coach Byron Scott didn't hold back when assessing his team's awful performance.

"Chicago was aggressive and physical and the more (shots) they hit, the more we took steps back," he said. "We didn't react to their physical play whatsoever — besides the whining. You can not let a good team like they are come in and play harder, be more physical, more aggressive and expect to win or even be in the game.

"We have a long way to go. Simple as that. We have a lot of work to do."

All of the Bulls chipped in to inflict historic damage on the Cavs.

C.J. Watson started for Rose and scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, when the Bulls took an energetic Cleveland crowd looking for an upset and silenced it. Richard Hamilton scored 13 points and Joakim Noah had 10 rebounds.

With 8 minutes left, Chicago's starters were all kicking back on the bench and watching the reserves destroy Cleveland's backups. Kyle Korver scored 14 points in the final 12 minutes, and even seldom-used Brian Scalabrine added four points to the delight of some Bulls fans on hand.

Rose's injury has gotten better in recent days, but it's still not good enough to get him back on the floor.

"He doesn't feel he's ready to go yet," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "The doctors said it's a sprain. My understanding is the difference between the sprain and turf toe is the turf toe is underneath the toe. Derrick was face down when he got hit so it was on the top of the toe, which made it a sprain."

"It's day-to-day."

This was a good day to rest it.

The Bulls toyed with the Cavs, who were trying to get to .500 but got a firsthand look at how far they'll need to climb to catch up to the East's best team.

"Here's the thing about our team: We have more than enough to win with," Thibodeau said.

The Cavaliers prepared for the game as if Rose would play. His name was the first listed on the dry-erase board in Cleveland's locker room with the word "aggressive" scribbled next to it.

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