Chicago picked up a much-needed win in their playoff chase in a 99-93 win over Cleveland. The Bulls were down by nine points at the halftime break, but they stormed back with a dominant third quarter by outscoring their opponent 37-21. They now sit just one game back from the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 36-39 record. As for the Cavaliers, they now have lost five of their last seven games and continue to slump. They've already coughed up the top spot in the conference, and now they are a half game back of Boston.

Cavaliers can't recover from third quarter struggles

LeBron James (26 ppg, 8.8 apg) passed Shaquille O'Neal on the all-time scoring list on Thursday night, but that was about the only bright spot for Cleveland who has lost three consecutive games.

Granted, those other two losses came against some of the best teams in the NBA (San Antonio, Washington), but the defending champions should be holding themselves to a higher standard.

James certainly wasn't happy after the game, saying that the Cavaliers are "in a bad spot right now" and they "need to figure it out." He went 11-for-20 from the field to finish with 26 points, 10 boards, and 8 assists. His only blemish was going just 1-for-7 from 3-point range.

Mirotic lifts Bulls with perimeter shooting

Power forward Nikola Mirotic (10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg) led Chicago with 28 points and 10 rebounds to one of their biggest wins late in the season. He hit 9-of-14 field goal attempts with six of those makes coming from 3-point range.

He was key in the 3rd quarter romp, and small forward Jimmy Butler (23.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg) complimented him with 25 points, 6 boards, and a positive passing ratio of five assists to one turnover.

Butler's streak of three consecutive double-doubles came to an end -- he was averaging 12.3 assists in the stretch.

Still, the Bulls will take the win, and they seem to be going the way of Mirotic at the moment. He's hit 28 points exactly in three of the last four games, and all of those contests resulted in important wins for Chicago.

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