by Yusuf Gadlin
The Chicago Bulls defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-92 in Game 1 of the NBA semifinal playoffs. The Bulls got great production from four of their five starters. Bulls guard Derrick Rose led the way with 25pts, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists on 11/26 shooting from the field. Bulls emerging superstar shooting guard Jimmy Butler scored 20pts on 7/16 shooting and played amazing defense on Cleveland’s leader LeBron James. Bulls Center Pau Gasol had a smooth 21pts to go along with 10 rebounds. Gasol was efficient as well shooting 10/16 from the field. Finally, Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy continued his hot shooting with 14 pts and 7 quiet rebounds.
What amazing production.
This is exactly the start I wanted to see from this Bulls team. The Bulls led this game from beginning to end and withstood a 14pt barrage in the second quarter from Cleveland Guard Kyrie Irving who ended his night with 30 dazzling points. It is very clear now, Kyrie Irving is a force to be wreck with. So much so that Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau had to switch his defensive ace Jimmy Butler off LeBron James who had a ugly 19 pts and put him on the slithery point guard.
That was a great move.
We all thought Jimmy Butler would have to stop the unstoppable LeBron James for the Bulls to have a chance to win this series. Not true any longer. The new found key is if Jimmy Butler can slow down Kyrie Irving and force him into inefficient shooting games. I thought Derrick Rose would warm to this task, But its clear he doesn’t trust his knees on defense as he trust them on offense. I total understand, guarding Kyrie Irving can cause you to blow out a knee or break an ankle or two but I think Jimmy Butler is more than capable for this challenge.
The Bulls impressively won game one. They must continue to Keep the faith and sustain this new found fiery edge. Cleveland will Definitely make adjustments for game 2 and I want to see how the Bulls respond. The Bulls must win game 2 to prove they mean business and to add credence that they are a legit Championship team.
Until then, I shall proceed with caution.