HEADLINE

Max Strus, Cavaliers look to stay hot vs. Bulls

Field Level Media

February 28, 2024 at 1:13 pm.

Max Strus has proved to be a perfect fit in his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Strus will look to continue to stand out on Wednesday night when the Cavaliers visit the Chicago Bulls.

He provided a signature moment with the Cavaliers on Tuesday night. He sank seven 3-pointers against the Dallas Mavericks — including four in a 67-second sequence late in the fourth quarter — and made a 59-foot shot at the buzzer to give Cleveland a thrilling 121-119 home victory.

Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points and Strus added 21 for the Cavaliers, who shot 20 of 40 from 3-point range and improved to 25-7 over their last 32 games.

Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said his team’s dramatic victory marked another step forward in the Cavaliers’ journey toward the postseason.

“It just continues to boost confidence and create belief in what we’re doing and in each other,” Bickerstaff said. “To me, that’s what speaks volumes. We were down and could have easily pitched our tent and got ready to go to Chicago, but instead guys figured out a way to dig down and overcome a lot down the stretch.”

Cleveland acquired Strus in a three-team deal with the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs during the offseason. Bickerstaff said the sharp-shooting guard is playing a key role in the team’s growth this season.

“I think he makes a huge difference,” Bickerstaff said. “The way he plays the game with a determination, a never-give-in mentality and attitude, that inspires his teammates every single day. He is just relentless, and that elevates his teammates.”

While Cleveland is coming off one of the season’s most dramatic victories, Chicago is looking to bounce back from a stunning 105-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.

The Pistons have won just nine times this season, but two of the victories have come against the Bulls.

Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and 10 rebounds in the loss for Chicago, which shot 2 of 29 from 3-point range (6.9 percent).

“It’s a total outlier game in terms of that kind of shooting, especially for these guys over close to 60 games now,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said. “We still had opportunities to overcome it.”

Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu was held to eight points on 4-of-14 shooting from the field, including 0-of-5 from beyond the arc. The rough outing was a rare misstep for the third-year pro, who is shooting 40.6 percent from 3-point range.

Donovan praised Dosunmu’s development prior to the game.

“I think he has a much better feel of how he’s being guarded and what are his things he can go to with the way he’s being guarded,” Donovan said. “A lot of times teams are trying to keep him out of the lane, so they run under on a lot of screens or back off him. And he’s got confidence in shooting.”

Donovan is monitoring the status of guard Alex Caruso, who injured his right hamstring in the fourth quarter and did not return. He is questionable to face the Cavaliers.

Chicago has lost its last seven meetings against Cleveland, including three matchups this season. Mitchell scored a team-high 30 points in the Cavaliers’ 108-105 over the Bulls in Cleveland on Feb. 14.

Jarrett Allen has 23 double-doubles since Dec. 23 for the Cavaliers, who are 18-9 on the road this season.