Bulls Rout Cavs To Finish, Earn Overall No. 1 Seed In Playoffs
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CHICAGO (AP) — John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs with a 107-75 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.
With the No. 1 seed in the East already in hand and the playoffs beginning on Saturday, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took no chances in the regular-season finale. He rested Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver.
Chicago will host Philadelphia on Saturday.
Tristan Thompson scored 13 points for the Cavaliers, who lost four straight games to end the season, their second straight last-place finish in the Central Division.
Kyrie Irving, who had a late-season sprained right shoulder and is recovering from the flu, did not play.
The Bulls out-rebounded Cleveland 60-38.
Despite being short-handed, the Bulls controlled most of the game. They led 58-45 at halftime behind nine points and eight rebounds from Noah, and Lucas’ nine points.
Carlos Boozer scored the first six points of the third quarter and Chicago extended the lead to 66-47.
The Bulls could have also clinched home-court advantage throughout the postseason with a Spurs’ loss to the Warriors, but didn’t need the help. Lucas’ 3 increased the lead with 3:53 to go and Rasual Butler had tip to make it 99-69.
With the game well in hand, fans started chanting for Brian Scalabrine with 8 minutes to go. He finally entered the game with 2:59 to a loud ovation. He made a jumper to a standing ovation with 25 seconds left.
Rose, the reigning NBA MVP, sat for the 27th time in 66 games this season. He has missed games with a bad back, sore groin, sprained ankle and the latest a foot injury, but Thibodeau said Rose will be ready for the playoffs.
Antawn Jamison, who will become a free agent, scored 12 points in what likely will be his final game for Cleveland.
NOTES: The Cavs also played without Omri Casspi. He was out with a right knee tendinitis.
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