The Chicago Bulls steal game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals with a win on the road. Their stiffing defense held the Cavaliers to a playoffs low 92 points. Kyrie Irving lead all scorers with 30 points, Iman Shumpert added 20, while LeBron James contributed nine assists, 15 points, and a game high six turnovers.
Three players from the Bulls roster tallied at least 20 points, —Derrick Rose (25 pts.), Jimmy Butler (20 pts), and Pau Gasol (21 points). Rose helped to lead the charge for the Bulls ,even after shooting a team high 26 shots, and during the late 3rd quarter, there was a point where he appeared to shoot Chicago out of the lead– it will be interesting to see if he makes any offensive adjustments during the next game.
The Cavs made several surges, even closing the gap to within two points, however, the defensive efforts in the fourth quarter by the Bulls, including big shots from Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler sealed the deal as the Bulls stole the game, momentum, and life out of Quicken Loans Arena.
Game 2 is set for Wednesday night where the Cavs look to even the series 1-1.
Can the Bulls steal another game on the road or will the Cavs counter by protecting home court in a pivotal game 2. Team S.U. predicts the outcome of such an important game.
Bulls vs. Cavs: Game 1 reaction and Game 2 Predictions:
Steve Turner (NBA Writer): I’m not entirely surprised by the Bulls winning game 1. The Cavs are missing Kevin Love and J.R. Smith– who will return for this series, while Love is out for the rest of the playoffs, which is huge for Cleveland as he brought a lot to the Cavs.
It was never an easy series for the Cavs even with Love, but him being out makes a big difference. Jimmy Butler did a fantastic job of guarding LeBron, Derrick Rose had yet another great game, as did Pau Gasol, however, I believe it was just a bad game for Cleveland. The Bulls were clicking and just out played the Cavs.
Game 2 Prediction: I believe the Cavs are going to learn from this loss and bounce back in game two.
Jr. Williams (Editor): Defensively the Bulls executed well, however, there were times where I think Derrick Rose could have made the extra pass to the open man– he almost shot the Bulls out of the game, but I think his offensive aggressiveness to counter Kyrie Irving‘s stellar play was just what the Bulls needed to win game 1.
Lets be honest, LeBron James was horrible from the field after shooting 9-22 in game 1. If he would have converted a few shots or earned a trip to the charity stripe, this would have arguably been a completely different outcome.
In game 2 I expect the Cavs to be more aggressive defensively, and don’t be surprised if we see an appearance from Kendrick Perkins as the Cavs will try to find an answer at slowing down Pau Gasol’s outside shooting.
Prediction: The Cavs don’t have the bench to keep up with the Bulls, and are defensively outmatched. I got the Bulls taking a commanding 2-0 lead versus the Cavs. LeBron looks out of place in the series thus far.
Keith Rivas (Editor): Chicago came out swinging in Game 1 against Cleveland which is exactly what they needed to do in order to make sure they stay in this series.
Milwaukee gave them plenty to worry about in round one, and if it weren’t for a sudden explosion in Game 6, the Bulls could have been on the ropes and hoped not to choke in Game 7 back home.
But let’s stop playing the “what-if” game.
Derrick Rose is back, ready to go, and wants nothing more than to lead his troops to victory. Cleveland’s inexperience (collectively) was on display tonight and if the Cavs don’t get their head in the game ASAP, King James & Co. will be in for a LONG flight back to Chicago.
Prediction: If the Bulls continue to play in chill mode, as I like to call it, Game 2 will be just as much of a dozy. If they worry too much about the pressure the playoffs bring, things could very well shift heading back to the Windy City.