In Game 3 of the 2nd round NBA playoffs, the Chicago Bulls hosted the Cleveland Cavaliers, and with the series tied at 1, something had to give.
This game was a defensive struggle, punctuated by long distance shots at critical times.
Derrick Rose of the Bulls, drove to the top of the key and launched a shot that went off glass and in just as the buzzer sounded to end the game. Chicago won a “must have” game due to the heroics of Rose.
Rose had a game high 30 points, and Jimmy Butler scored 20 for the Bulls. Nikola Miritic had 12 points and 8 rebounds off the bench.
Butler was named Most Improved Player in the NBA and he had an award ceremony right before the game. He did not disappoint; his defense on James was stellar and he made some big shots.
LeBron James struggled in this game, shooting 8 of 25 attempts and 1-7 from three point land. He was 10-11 from the free-throw line and scored 27 points. He just was uneven. Kyrie Irving had only 11 points on a off-night, but the shots that he made were impressive.
Tristan Thompson had a great game, scoring 10, and grabbing a team high 13 rebounds. The Cavs had second chance shots mainly due to the play of Thompson. JR Smith made 4 treys, the last coming with 10.8 ticks on the clock. But Rose answered with his one 3 pointer, and we go to game 4 with the Bulls up 2-1.
This is the first time a Bulls team has two wins against a team with Lebron James in the playoffs.
Pau Gasol strained his left hamstring and did not play in the 4th quarter but the team found a way. The extent of Gasol’s injury is not known. But if he misses a game it would be a blow to the team.
The Bulls won despite shooting 38% from the floor. Cleveland only hit 39% of its shots.
The game was played intensely, with some bumping and chirping on the court. Aaron Brooks was hit with a technical for a push on a Cavs player.
Their were many lead changes, if the Bulls had a 3 point lead, the Cavs found a way to tie.
The Bulls lead 2-1 in this series with game 4 at the United Center. It’s shaping up to be a barn burner.