The Chicago Bulls put on perhaps the best interior passing display you'll see by any team all season long. It felt like half the Bulls shot attempts were dunks and layups after four quick passes and poor rotations by the Cavaliers.
The Cavs started off strong, building a 10 point lead through the first quarter largely off the back of C.J. Miles three point shooting. The Bulls looked like they were playing better than the results though as they were flubbing easy opportunities and Cleveland made some tough shots.
After the first quarter, the Bulls generated even easier looks and Cleveland stopped seeing their shots drop, and what started as a big Cleveland lead turned into a near even game at the half and a complete blow out by the end.
Carlos Boozer with three consecutive 24+/11+ games
Not a bad run for Carlos Boozer who may even be converting a few haters into neutrals. As the crispness of the Bulls passing increases, the value of Carlos Boozer on offense increases. When Boozer is on the move and playing with a little bit of room he can show off his excellent finishing with both hands and variety of moves to score.
When Carlos Boozer gets the ball in isolation and is forced to create space for himself, frequently against more athletic and lengthier defenders, he struggles mightily. Chicago has given Carlos enough room to work with that we see the quick dives through the paint giving him easy shots at the rim, and he's knocking down the open jumper when given space out at the free throw line.
I don't see Carlos Boozer continuing to average 20/10+ for the season, but if the Bulls can keep their ball movement up then we will see a much more dangerous and effective Carlos Boozer.
Taj Gibson also looked strong in the post scoring most of his shots of dunks and layups. He had at least three baskets where he established deep post position and displayed excellent footwork to fight up a shot through the defense and score as well as several straight up open dunks/putbacks.
Marco impressed again
Up until this game, I haven't felt like Marco was quite the same as he was as a starter, but he brought the fire against Cleveland knocking down three of four behind the arc and hitting what looked like an impossible angle running scoop shoot around Tyler Zeller after out working his man on the dribble.
I still think the Bulls need to get Belinelli back in the starting lineup.
Nate Robinson also provided some excitement with a couple of crazy 'and 1' finishes to go along with some deep bombs, even whipping out the jet after knocking down one corner three.
In other news, Skiles quits/fired
The Milwaukee Bucks are sitting at .500, and looking at their talent, I'm impressed they've done so well. That said Scott Skiles has apparently reached his shelf life with the team and quit/was fired last night. Jim Boylan will take over as interim coach.
We can now forget about the Bucks making a run at the division.
I'm sure there are a bunch of Bucks fans out there happy that Skiles is gone, and let me say this, it probably was time for Skiles to leave. Once he hit the point where they mutually agreed it was time, then it's probably time. However, your odds of getting a better coach are awfully small, and your interim coach is a train wreck waiting to happen.
Bulls fans around the world feel for you, but we'll likely enjoy playing the Boylan led Bucks on Wednesday.
I don't know how long it will be before Skiles recharges his batteries and looks for another gig, but I hope he doesn't land in Charlotte where he'll find some way to take their players and mold them into at least a .500 team and ruin our slim odds of top draft pick in 2016.
Not missing Dwight so much now
I've long advocated doing whatever it would have taken to get Dwight Howard last season even without a commitment. Well, Howard's out indefinitely with a shoulder injury after playing fairly beneath his standards for most of the year while recovering from a back injury.
Any thoughts of getting much out of Howard this year seem fairly hopeful, and if he left the Bulls after one injury plagued season then they sure would have come out on the losing end of that deal. Of course if he would have stayed, then I'd still take him and hope for the best with the injuries going forward.
Either way, tough break for the Lakers who also lost Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill to injuries. All three players will be out indefinitely, and it looks like the Lakers may have a rough time even making the playoffs. Interesting twist of fate for a team many thought was title worth this season.
In the preseason I had the Lakers third behind OKC and Miami. At this point, they're probably a long shot to even make the playoffs and will live through an off-season of what might have been if it weren't for the injuries.