This was a stupid, ridiculous game. The Cavs hit a number of absurd shots, including multiple insane shots from deep. J.R. Smith hit one before the first half buzzer in which he was falling out of bounds and heavily contested. Then, later, Kyrie Irving hit a shot from over 50 feet away as the shot clock expired. It was just sort of that kind of night for the Bulls. Still, they did that Bulls thing where they hang tough and make the game close, in spite of nothing going their way. I don't know how to take that. I'm not sure whether to be encouraged by the Bulls' ability to keep it relatively close while the Cavs just made really, impossibly tough shots or whether to be discouraged because the Bulls never have the guys who seem to be able to make those insanely high degree of difficulty shots.
Taj had an absolutely awful game. He grabbed TWO rebounds in 22 minutes, as he got beasted by the Cavs front line. Jimmy Butler had a mediocre to bad game, by his standards. He helped slow LeBron's scoring a little bit, but James put up a triple double and Jimmy scored only 16 points on 14 shots in over 42 minutes of play (what the hell, Thibs?). He also only grabbed 4 rebounds in all that playing time. Tony Snell got buried, again, with Jimmy getting all of those minutes and I guess I can kind of see why, given how spazzy his defense was when he was out there. Aaron Brooks had 7 freaking turnovers and well, that's sort of what happens when Aaron Brooks plays starter's minutes. He's just not good enough for that role. The Bulls are kind of stuck with Brooks, though, without Hinrich or Rose to play any minutes. I still maintain, though, that between Butler, Snell, Dunleavy, Nikola, and Noah there's enough dribbling and playmaking in that group that you could roll with those guys as a unit to reduce the amount of time Brooks is on the floor making mistakes. Brooks did have a pretty good night scoring the ball getting 17 on 13 shots. In related news, Kyrie Irving is still a sieve on defense.
The Bulls got really taken advantage of in this one when they went with the Noah-Gasol pairing, as Noah just didn't trust Pau at all to patrol the paint, and as a result of his focus on the paint and turned head, Jo frequently left his man, Kevin Love, wide freaking open from 3. Love made him pay several times. Niko had one of his worst games in a while, as he went 3 of 12 from the field and just 3 of 6 from the line for 12 points. He did snag 10 rebounds, but his 0 assists in 22 minutes combined with inefficient, low volume scoring were indicative of the kind of night he had. LeBron matched up with his a few times and it was just a problem for Mirotic.
Shout out to Mike Dunleavy who had a very good game scoring 24 points on 12 shots and doing a great job of hunting open 3's all night.
Oh also, Joakim called LeBron a pussy a bunch of times, so that was fun. LeBron getting the last laugh and the W, though, felt familiar and terrible.