December 24, 2018 / 1:57 AM / in 24 days

Strong second half, Markkanen's 31 lift Bulls over Cavs

EditorsNote: Fixes Zach spelling in 9th graf; other small tweaks

Lauri Markkanen scored 31 points — 14 in the decisive third quarter when visiting Chicago imposed its defensive will — and the Bulls went on to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, 112-92.

The 21-year-old from Finland has 30-plus points in back-to-back games, following up Friday’s 12-of-20, 32-point effort against Orlando with an 11-of-18 showing Sunday.

After holding Toronto to 29 percent from 3-point range in a loss to the Raptors on Friday, the Cavs couldn’t stop the Bulls from beyond the arc on Sunday. Markkanen made 5 of 10 from long range, and the Bulls as a team went 11-for-22.

After trailing 59-54 at the half, Chicago held Cleveland to 33 second-half points. For the game, the Cavs shot 38-of-84 (45.2 percent) but just 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) from 3-point range.

In outscoring the Cavaliers 30-15 in the quarter, the Bulls took advantage of Cleveland’s 6-for-17 shooting and six turnovers. Chicago used a 12-5 surge to close the quarter and take an 84-74 lead heading into the fourth.

Chicago extended the lead to 92-79 on Kris Dunn’s 14-footer with 9:18 left. The lead grew to 98-81 on a 19-foot jumper by Dunn with 6:49 to play.

Dunn finished with 17 points, Ryan Arcidiacono added 12 points and eight assists and Justin Holiday chipped in 15.

Larry Nance Jr. led Cleveland with 20 points, but with only six rebounds he failed to collect a double-double for the first time in four games.

Jordan Clarkson scored 17 points off the bench for Cleveland, which was playing without Rodney Hood (Achilles), while the Bulls did not have the services of Zach LaVine (ankle), who will be out for at least two weeks.

Cedi Osman added 17 points for Cleveland.

The Bulls and Cavaliers came in with identical 8-25 records. Chicago had lost five of the past seven games. Cleveland has now lost three straight.

Jabari Parker did not play for the fifth straight game — he was left on the bench Sunday after missing the previous four because of a virus.

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