Cavs 112, Bulls 102
The game played out closer to a regular season game than the Cavs would have probably liked.
Play 'em close. Wait for fourth. LeBron closes them out. Play defense.
That's essentially what happened as the Bulls played the Cavs to a 77-77 tie through three quarters. LeBron James scored 15 in the quarter to take the game over, spurred on by the Chicago bench, he said. The Cavs held Chicago to 36 percent shooting in the quarter and Jamario Moon contributed some serious timely shooting to create separation and win.
The Bulls made this one interesting by focusing on getting center Joakim Noah going early and as much as possible. He played actively and with passion, there's no taking that away from him, but after being batted around like a pinata, he was in no mood to endure it again. He converged on the hoop, putting up seven offensive rebounds of his own.
That in turn took pressure off point gaurd Derrick Rose, who still had to chuck up a hefty number of shots with 24, but had someone to at least clean-up when he missed.
The Bulls did a nice job of keeping the Cavs off the offensive glass, a category they dominated Saturday. That's the primary reason they stayed in the game so long. In all the Bulls outscored the Cavs in second chance points 21-7.
The Cavs won't be able to rely on LeBron James every game. In short: they still have plenty to clean-up before things get serious.
Game: Cavs vs. Chicago Bulls Broadcast:
TV: FSOhio and TNT Radio: WAKR (1590 AM); WTAM (1100 AM), WHBC (1480 AM) Starters:
Cavs: LeBron James (F); Antawn Jamison (F); Shaquille O'Neal (C); Anthony Parker (G); Mo Williams (G).
Bulls: Luol Deng: (F); Taj Gibson (F); Joakim Noah (C); Kirk Hinrich (G); Derrick Rose (G).
Injured and inactive:
Officials: Joey Crawford, Ron Garretson and Eric Lewis.
If you are the Cavs you continue what worked well in the first game. For them, and it' s a theme they've echoed in interviews, that means making Derrick Rose take a high number of shots as he did in Game 1 - 28 to be exact.
While it was good to see the team produce a balanced offense, not overly having to rely on LeBron James, they should better take advantage of this matchup on Luol Deng, who is no where good enough to keep James from scoring.
Continue to batter Joakim Noah with Shaquille O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Anderson Varejao. It's obvious that it wore on him in Game 1.
For the Bulls, they have to do what they do best - rebound the ball. The Cavs killed them on the boards 50-38 and were especially ferocious on the offensive boards 13-7.
The Bulls have to find a way to get Joakim Noah more involved in the paint and he has to be more effective on the offensive glass, especially considering that the Bulls rely on Derrick Rose to score the ball more than anyone else.