"We have to find a way," said Bulls center Joakim Noah, who has been playing with a right foot injury. "We have to play with more urgency and play together. I think that is disappointing right now. It's been a long stretch where we haven't been playing great basketball."
Alonzo Gee finished with 11 points for the Cavaliers, who open a five-game homestand against Toronto on Wednesday. Tristan Thompson added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Chicago and Cleveland handed the lead back and forth for much of the third quarter. Three consecutive charging calls on the Bulls helped the Cavaliers open a 72-67 advantage on Walton's long jumper with two minutes left in the period, but Noah found Deng inside to help Chicago get within one.
The Bulls had a chance to go in front in the final seconds of the third, but Marco Belinelli's 3-point attempt was blocked by Livingston, and Ellington hit a 3 as time expired to lift Cleveland to a 75-71 lead.
Waiters was 10 for 16 from the field and is averaging 19.8 points in his last five games. The rookie, who was the No. 4 overall pick in last year's draft, had 26 points in the loss to Miami.
"Just being patient, letting the game come to me, and just taking what the defense gives me," Waiters said. "That's what I'm trying to do is just be aggressive, looking to attack, keep the defense on their heels."
NOTES: Rose and Irving have never faced each other in an NBA game. "Well, I think we're all looking forward to that," Scott said. "My greatest hope is that No. 1 that Derrick Rose comes back and he's back to being the old Derrick Rose. If that happens and they get a chance to go against each other, I think that would be very interesting." ... Livingston played his prep ball at Peoria Central H.S. ... Chicago's 115-86 win at Cleveland on Nov. 2 is the worst loss of the season for the Cavaliers.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap