Post-mortem: Bulls 86, Cavs 85
A few observations:
LeBron James said it himself. Right now, the team's primary problem remains on offense. They averaged more than 100 points per game last year and are nowhere near that this season. Allow me to add something to that. The free throw shooting sucks. I probably couldn't hit one to save my life, but I'm not paid to do that. On a night when charity shots were at a premium, they shot just 60 percent from the line. That was rather Ben Wallace-like of the whole team.
After that resounding return, Delonte West still hasn't been able to find himself out on the court. He scored just two points and looked out of sorts most of the night.
The Cavs are going to have to get more points off their bench. Tonight, they got just 12, eight of which came from Daniel ''Boobie'' Gibson. Zydrunas Ilgauskas went 0-9 on the night and West hit just 1-of-5.
While things look better on the defensive side, the Cavs still gave up points to the wrong person. They did a fantastic job of containing Derrick Rose for three quarters, only to allow him to get in the lane for shots and assists and the fourth. Rose scored 10 points in the fourth and tossed out five assists in the same span, giving the Bulls the lift that they needed.
Game: Cavs (3-3) vs. Chicago Bulls (3-2)
Broadcast: TV: TNT Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM)
Starters: Cavs: LeBron James (F); Anderson Varejao (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G). Bulls: Luol Deng (F); Taj Gibson (F); Joakim Noah (C); John Salmons (G); Derrick Rose (G).
Officials: Ron Garretson, Michael Smith, Eli Roe
Streaking: Cavs havewon three in a row, the Bulls one.
What to watch:
The Bulls are counting on Derrick Rose to get back into game shape - and soon. Last year's rookie of the year sat out most of the preseason with a sprained ankle and has yet to work himself back into game shape.
The Bulls need him because they've struggled offensively in their four games thus far, shooting just 40.9 percent from the floor after four games. They are, however, coming into Quicken Loans Arena with some momentum as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday night in dramatic fashion, erasing an 18-point deficit to do so.
There is one big difference in the Bulls this year, however. Ben Gordon, a guy who always seemed to find his shot against the Cavaliers is now plying his trade with the Detroit Pistons. His absence certainly figures into the Bulls' offensive woes thus far.