It may sound cliche, but it's true in this case. From quarters two through four, the Bulls outscored the Cavs by one. Unfortunately, the Cavs were +14 in the first quarter. Give them credit for fighting back. Give them credit for making a game out of it. Did they figure something out or did Cleveland just get bored?
To me, the game came down to basically two things. In the first quarter, the Bulls turned the ball over a ton and got killed on the glass. The Cavs got a bunch of easy baskets in transition, and they had a ton of second chance points. Those two factors made the biggest difference in the first quarter, and the teams played evenly the rest of the night.
The Bulls did a fair job on James who finished with 24 points on 9 of 19 shooting. James had a good night, but he didn't have an epic night. The Cavs didn't play all that great for the most part. They had moments, but they played at a level the Bulls could have won.
This wasn't the Bulls best game. Joakim Noah was unable to collect any offensive boards or really make his presence felt. Derrick Rose may have only been three boards shy of a triple double and had 28 points, but he also used 28 shots to get his points and had seven turnovers to go with his 10 assists. This isn't to rip on Rose, who looked dominant as hell at times, and was reffed out of a far better performance, but he can play even better. The rest of the starters were more or less terrible. The Bulls can do better.
Unfortunately for the Bulls, so can the Cavs. Most of the Cavs played well, but we know LeBron can do so much more. We won't hold him to 24 points if the Cavs need him. On top of that, the Bulls best play seemed to come when the Cavs simply got bored with the game.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, that James Johnson didn't get a shot to take on LeBron. Of course, given that LeBron wasn't really killing us there probably wasn't huge incentive to go that direction. Still, with Deng playing poorly overall, I think Johnson deserves some burn out there though I find it unlikely he'll get it.
I'll discuss some adjustments tomorrow.