In what was a WILDLY entertaining contest, the Bulls ultimately fell to the Cavs in their 2014-15 home opener on Friday night. Things started off innocently enough, with LeBron and Derrick Rose both looking better than they had in their debuts. Going into halftime, it was a close, if sloppy game, despite Rose rolling his ankle on a putback late in the second quarter. When he came out of the break, he looked significantly diminished, not once really probing into the lane and settling for jumpers. Despite hitting a couple, he left soon after and never returned to the game, totaling 20 points on 8-16 shooting in a little over 25 minutes of action, a game both encouraging for its effectiveness and discouraging yet again for his not being able to stay out on the court. On the plus side, however, it really did just seem like a fairly routine ankle sprain, and while I’d doubt he’ll play tomorrow or even most of next week, the Bulls schedule is pretty weak for most of November and it’s probably just precautionary. Coming back too quickly from small injuries like this is what ended up costing Rose much of the 2012 season, even before the ACL injury.
On the other hand, this game got wilder and wilder, even without Rose. Dion Waiters shot himself out of the game, LeBron shot himself into it, and the Bulls shot themselves into the lead and into an overtime session where, finally, they couldn’t hold up. Pau Gasol (6-18, 15 points) was brilliant around the rim (6 blocks) and awful on the defensive glass (Tristan Thompson had 12 offensive rebounds). Joakim Noah (3-7, 8 points) looked engaged but still not anywhere near fully healthy. Mike Dunleavy (5-10, 14 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds), Aaron Brooks (4-8, 11 points), Taj Gibson (5-9, 10 points and also the victim of a rolled ankle), and Tony Snell (3-8, 10 points) all contributed, but it was Kirk Hinrich who nearly saved the game for the Bulls, finishing with 20 points of his own on 7-11 shooting, 3-5 from deep. When they had Brooks in to handle the ball, Kirk started lighting it up from downtown, routinely losing Kyrie Irving (6-17, 23 points) in transition.
Oh, and also that LeBron guy was good (14-30, 36 points). Both teams now stand at 1-1.
The Bulls play again tomorrow in Minnesota.
Player(s) of the Game: Derrick Rose and Kirk Hinrich
No comments yet.