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Bulls vs. Cavs final score: Bulls trounced in home opener

LaVine came back and looked good, not much else good happened

Cleveland Cavaliers v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Bulls had some good news heading into this game, with a plausible 2-0 start (only a DeMar DeRozan buzzer-beater miss away) adding the return of Zach LaVine to potential positive momentum heading into the season’s home opener.

Instead, it was a blowout loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, by a 128-96 margin.

To open with the one good thing: Zach LaVine looked great in his first half of the season, going 7-10 from the field with 17 points.

Looked to have the bounce:

The problem is the Bulls couldn’t stop anything, and the Cavaliers were red-hot from three. They hit 7 of their first 8 from distance and wound up hitting 10 in the first half to put up 70 points to the Bulls 54.

The Bulls surged out to an early lead, but couldn’t keep up especially after the bench came in. Bizarrely, instead of staggering the multiple All-Stars at his disposal, Billy Donovan went to an all-bench unit and even dipped to the 12th man on his roster in Derrick Jones. Yes, the defense need something, anything to make a difference, but this unit just couldn’t score to even keep up a bit with Cavs lineups that included Mitchell and Mobley.

Donovan Mitchell even scorched Alex Caruso at times, finishing that first half with 18 points. An uncontested dunk to start the third saw the ‘patented’ (this is bad) Billy Donovan early 2nd half timeout.

The Bulls, down 20 quickly in the second half, have seen themselves fall behind in all three early season games to this point. Perhaps being on the back-to-back meant there just hasn’t enough in the tank to come back again. A couple runs usually spurred on by uber-athletic plays from Caruso and Javonte Green had the Bulls back within 9 a couple times in the second half, but the Cavs would respond with big plays to stop the Bulls runs.

They never got closer, it was up to a 23 point deficit with 5 minutes left in the game. Soon after, DeMar DeRozan had enough and got himself ejected after consecutive technicals.

So there was no DeMar DeMagic tonight, as he finished with a pedestrian 13 points with only a single assist. LaVine was the Bulls leading scorer with 23 followed by Vucevic with 16. No other Bull hit double-figures, and as a team shot a brutal 7-29 from three. Patrick Williams put in another dud, and looked to be supplanted in the 2nd half rotation until returning for garbage time.

The Cavs, in contrast, put on an offensive clinic in spite of 17 turnovers. They were a scorching 16-27 from distance (59.3%), led by Mitchell’s 4-6 from three on his way to 32 points. Their bench had huge contributions from Kevin Love (5-6 from three, 15 points), Cedi Osman (15 points as well) and old friend Robin Lopez (12 points, I think all on doofy looking hooks).

This was a performance that manifested all the fears heading into the season: not enough shooting, poor defense, and couldn’t stay close enough to have DeRozan save them this time. The schedule does not break until after their next game, hosting the Celtics on Monday night.