Cleveland took a first quarter lead and was never threatened. The Cavs led by 15 at half, and 21 and the end of the third quarter. The Bulls, who shot a desultory 37.5% from the field, could not challenge throughout the game. Halfway through the third quarter, the Cavs led 65-41. The Bulls had 48 points in the latter stages of the third quarter. Call it an off night but these kind of games have come more frequently.
Quite simply, the Bulls are in a real funk.
Pau Gasol looked tired tonight while adding another double-double to his growing tally. He scored 11 points, and had 11 boards. The 11 points are well off his season average of nearly 20 per game. Taj Gibson was inserted into the starting lineup due to a sitting F Mike Dunleavy, who still has ankle problems. Gibson scored 10 points and took in 10 boards. Forward Joakim Noah was also out due to an injured ankle. Guard Aaron Brooks scored 16 off the bench. Of late, Brooks has been one of the bright spots for Chicago.
If you can’t score or defend well, one is going to have a tough night in the NBA. It’s difficult to play Cleveland when James is on his game. The Cavs appear to be coming together, at 22-20, after having a hard stretch as a team. It seems that Love is getting more involved in his role and that does not bode well for Central Division foes.
The Bulls have a bunch of new faces too. Doug McDermott, the forward from Creighton, has been hurt for weeks and won’t be ready to play until next month, at the earliest. Now Chicago has a tough part of their schedule ahead. It doesn’t get any easier.