Inclement winter weather in Chicago is presenting itself as a pesky obstacle for the Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Saturday night game the teams are slated to play at United Center.
According to reports, the Bulls were stuck in Philadelphia for an extra night following Friday's 100-89 loss to the 76ers, while the Cavaliers planned to stay in Memphis after Friday's 113-109 loss to the surging Grizzlies.
Both struggling teams planned to fly to Chicago early Saturday. The Cavaliers have lost three straight and eight of 10, while the Bulls have also lost eight of 10.
The Bulls led the 76ers 47-46 at halftime but were unable to keep pace, falling behind by 10 points entering the fourth quarter.
Chicago was unable to corral Furkan Korkmaz, who swished six 3-pointers en route to a game- and career-high 24 points. Still, Bulls coach Jim Boylen said he felt content enough about a defensive effort that limited the 76ers under their season average on their home floor, where Philadelphia is 20-2.
"To hold a team to 100 on their home floor, we've got to try to score 101, and we didn't do that," Boylen told reporters after the game.
While Zach LaVine led the Bulls with 23 points -- his sixth straight game with at least that many -- the Bulls were unable to produce a consistent secondary scoring option. Coby White (14), Luke Kornet (13) and Lauri Markkanen (12) followed LaVine in double figures, but Boylen offered constructive criticism for the tentative Markkanen, who attempted just nine field goals.
"I just want him to be aggressive in his opportunities," Boylen said. "Be as aggressive as you can."
Markkanen, a former lottery pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves, remained diplomatic.
"I know I can probably attack the rim a little bit more often and be more aggressive and try to get to my spots," he said. "But I didn't feel that I had the opportunities where I could really attack the closeout. So I just tried to play the system and find the open man."
Cleveland enters the finale of a six-game road trip at 2-3. The games have featured a mixed bag, including a three-point victory in overtime and two lopsided losses by 25 or more points. On Friday, Cleveland trailed by as many as 21 before a fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short.
Collin Sexton has led Cleveland in scoring in three of the past four games, including 28 points against the Grizzlies.
"Just making the right play," Sexton said after Friday's game. "If I had the shot, shoot it. But if I didn't, make sure I pass to my teammates. ... I feel like I had an all-around good game tonight. We didn't come out with a win, but we're going to bounce back tomorrow against Chicago."
Cavaliers point guard Darius Garland went just 1-for-5 from 3-point range against Memphis. He had drilled at least two treys in 10 consecutive games before Friday to extend his league-leading streak among rookies this season.
Saturday's game marks the first of two games between the Bulls and Cavaliers over the next week. The teams are set to meet on Jan. 25 in Cleveland before concluding the season series on March 10 at United Center.
The Cavaliers topped the visiting Bulls 117-111 on Oct. 30 behind double-doubles from Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love.
--Field Level Media