The revolving doors of the NBA continued to swing Friday night, as the Chicago Bulls lost their much hyped first home game as LeBron James got on tracked and scored 36 points.
Not only did the Bulls lose their home opener, but Derrick Rose sprained his left ankle in the second quarter. Rose scored 20 points in just over 25 minutes of play. He seemed in good form, scoring on contested layups and 15 foot jump shots. Then his foot landed on Kyrie Irving’s and he turned his ankle. After the game, he said the injury is “not serious” and that X-Rays came back negative. Taj Gibson also sprained his ankle and was able to return to the game.
This was a close game throughout and Cleveland came ready to play after their shocking home opening night loss to the New York Knicks. James had an off-night and had 8 turnovers, which the Knicks smartly converted to points.
However, James was a beast in this game, virtually taking over the OT period with 8 points scored. Kyrie Irving had 23 points. Tristan Thompson, last year’s starting forward moved to the bench because of the off-season addition of Super-forward Kevin Love, had a fantastic game, scoring 16 points, and hauling in 12 offensive rebounds of 13 for the night. Cleveland dominated the Bulls in getting second-chance points and won 114-108 in Overtime.
The Bulls rallied from a 9 point deficit in the 4 quarter on the play of guard Aaron Brooks, who energized the crowd with his big baskets. Then Kirk Hinrich made 2 long treys and a 2 point shot to put the Bulls up by 5 with 46.5 left in the see-saw 4th quarter. But Cleveland came right back and went on a 5-0 run to tie the game.
The Bulls lost the battle of the boards 52-42. “In this league, you have to play with an edge,” Coach Tom Thibodeau remarked.
Chicago committed 20 turnovers to just 12 for the Cavs. Giving a team loaded with great talent extra chances to score, does not bode well for the opposition. Joakim Noah played hard on his surgically repaired knee grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring 9 points.
Tied 98- all in OT, LeBron James took over the game, muscling his way to the basket. One shot was a circus shot off glass that bounced in. Chicago missed Rose, a player who can create his own shot.
This game had almost playoff atmosphere to it. Rose said it well for Chicago, “We play them 3 more times.”