Deng faces former squad as Cavs entertain Bulls

11:21 AM, Jan 22, 2014   |    comments
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( - There will be a reunion on Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

Just a few weeks after trading him, the Chicago Bulls will face Luol Deng on Wednesday night when they visit the Q to take on Central Division rivals, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Deng, a free-agent in the offseason, was traded to Cleveland in exchange for Andrew Bynum, a first-round pick, the right to swap first-round picks and a few second-rounders.

Deng made two All-Star games with Chicago, where he played for 10 years before the trade.

"I know how fearsome a competitor (Deng) is, so I know he's going to try to beat us, we're going to try to beat him, and then after the game we're going to visit," Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I have a lot of respect for him, all the things he did for us, me personally. But friendship aside, we're coming up there, we're going to be ready."

Deng is trying to take a different approach.

"Honestly, it's another game," Deng said. "When I go out there it will be weird, because it's guys I practiced with and I was just with them not too long ago. That aspect will be weird. But I don't know. I can't really answer that the emotional part until (the game)."

The Bulls come into the matchup playing very good basketball. They've won two straight, three of four and eight of their last 10 to get back to the .500 mark.

On Monday, Taj Gibson scored with under a second to go in overtime to get a 102-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at United Center.

Mike Dunleavy inbounded the ball from underneath the basket, and Gibson boxed out Manny Harris in the lane to receive the bounce pass cleanly, then quickly went up with his left hand over Pau Gasol for the game-winner.

D.J. Augustin led Chicago with a season-high 27 points, while Joakim Noah filled the stat sheet with 17 points, 21 rebounds and six assists. Jimmy Butler managed 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Gibson and Dunleavy both had 12 points, while Carlos Boozer managed 11.

In a minor move, the Bulls traded Marquis Teague to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for forward Tornike Shengelia on Tuesday. His availability is unknown for Wednesday.

The Cavs have alternated wins and losses over the last six.

After a 3-2 western road trip, Cleveland fell at home to the Dallas Mavericks, 102-97, on Monday.

Kyrie Irving contributed 26 points and nine assists in the losing effort, while Anderson Varejao scored 18 points and ripped down 21 rebounds.

Deng finished with 20 points in his first game as a Cav in Cleveland and Tristan Thompson added 19 points and 10 boards.

Dallas led by as many as 24 in the second quarter and took a 22-point lead into the break. Irving had 16 in the third quarter and Cleveland had a shot to tie, down three with 2.8 seconds left. Jarrett Jack was whistled for a five- second violation when he couldn't find anyone open.

"Tale of two halves," said Thompson. "You can never win the game in the first half, but you can definitely put yourself in a hole and it can cost you the game."

Chicago has taken two of three against the Cavs this season, both in the United Center. The Bulls have won 13 of the last 15 regular-season matchups.

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