Chicago won’t get much time to think about its dominating win over Cleveland as the Bulls head back to Chicago to face New Orleans in their first back-to-back of the season.
With a win against the Hornets, Chicago will improve to 3-0 for the first time since the MJ era (1996-97).
The Bulls jumped all over Cleveland right from the tip off. In the first half Chicago scored 17 points off of 11 Cleveland turnovers and shot 66.7 percent from the field. They held the Cavs to 35 points on 30.8 percent shooting through the first 24 minutes. The Bulls also had 32 points in the paint in the first half, while Cleveland had just 14. Basically pick whatever stat you want and the Bulls were better in it (except percentage of players nicknamed “Boobie”).
Then the Bulls basically just cruised through the second half to eventually win by 29.
Rip scored 19, and this time he did it efficiently (8-12). Boozer again put in a good game (19 points, 7-11 from the field, 5-7 from the line, seven rebounds, six assists). Deng awoke from his poor shooting slumber to go 5-8 for 14 points. Nate Robinson scored 16 off the bench in 27 minutes because of Kirk Hinrich foul trouble. All of the Bulls shot well, as Chicago finished 63.8 percent from the field as a team.
Hinirch did a great job making the game difficult for Kyrie Irving. Irving was off 4-10 with 4 turnovers in the first half.
Now the Bulls set their sights on New Orleans who beat Utah last night on a last-second bucket. Greivis Vasquez recorded a double-double (13 points, ten assists) as well as the game-winning layup with just over a second remaining.
Robin Lopez (9-16) and Ryan Anderson (5-9 from three) each scored a team-high 19 points. The Hornets outscored Utah 56 to 36 in the paint, even without their young rookie for most of the game.
New Orleans was 6-13 on the second night of back-to-backs last season. But this one could be tough, because they will be without number one overall pick Anthony Davis. Davis left the game against Utah with a possible concussion. The Kentucky grad had eight points, six rebounds and two blocks in the first half. Davis was impressive in his NBA debut when he went up against Tim Duncan. He and Noah would be a fun, lanky battle to watch.
The Bulls were 14-6 last season on no rest. But a lot of that was due to the strong bench being able to play extra minutes. I’m not sure that is the case this year. The Bulls bench did score 44 in the win over Cleveland, but the Cavs bench scored 34 of their own. The bench of the past almost always shut down the other team’s second unit.
Thibs did give the starters a bit of a rest last night though. Deng (31 minutes) and Noah (32) were the only guys to play more than 30 minutes. 31 minutes for Deng is basically a night off. So the Bulls will be pretty fresh for the second night.
Chicago was 2-0 last season against the Hornets. The Bulls held New Orleans to 81.0 points on 39.0 percent shooting in the two contests. Rose played in both wins against New Orleans, and dropped 32 in one of the contests.
Although the Bulls won both meetings against the Hornets last year, New Orleans has a new roster this year. Rookies Davis and Austin Rivers (who has not had a good start to his career) are both starting so far this season. Reigning Most Improved Award winner Ryan Anderson is also a new Hornet. Anderson averaged 16.1 points and 7.7 rebounds last year with Orlando.
Stats of the night: New Orleans was 6-15 last season after a win, while the Bulls were 35-17.