Chicago Bulls, (8-8) managed to pull out a victory this evening on the road against the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers (4-15). While it doesn’t seem like these two teams have much in common, they DO both play in the Central Division. If you’re looking for more contemporary similarities, the two clubs were without their starting back court tonight as well. Kyrie Irving is going to be sidelined for an extended period as his broken index finger recovers. Cavs rookie, and one of the many players-I-wish-the-Bulls-tried-to-trade-up-for-in-the-draft, Dion Waiters has a sprained left ankle that he’s tending to.
Seeing as we’re now over a month into the season, a couple of things have cleared up, the main point being this: The Chicago Bulls are going to be flirting with .500 for the majority of the season, or at least until Derrick Rose makes his long-anticipated comeback. That’s something fans have gotten used to over the years.
Coming in to the game, the Bulls had taken a tough loss against Indiana, when a no-call at the end sealed the deal. In reality, Luol Deng should have been at the line trying to send that game to overtime.
The Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t defeated the Chicago Bulls since March 19th, 2010 – the last time Lebron James played a regular season game against Chicago dawning the wine, white and gold. Tonight’s win added a tenth straight victory for the Bulls against the Cavs. Here’s how it happened:
Daniel Gibson opened the game coming off a screen for two points. A few possessions later, a flush by Noah coming off a sweet pass from Boozer put the Bulls up by one point. That would be the last lead change. From the opening tip, the Chicago Bulls steadily built – and kept – their lead. In other news, somewhere in Thibbs-land, hell froze over. For the first time in Chicago Bulls-Luol Deng-Tom Thibodeau history, Luol Deng took a seat on the bench in the first quarter for non-injury reasons. Looks like the head coach is going soft. Say it ain’t so, Tom!
Before the game, I had Joakim Noah and Anderson Verejao’s match-up penciled in as “interesting”. Mostly because of their identically high motors and ridiculous hair to go with a seven-foot build. While they didn’t get into it as much as I would have liked (I’m evil), they did replicate each other in the rebound battle. Offensively, Joakim Noah took the edge. Andy finished with 11 points, 15 boards and 3 assists, while Noah topped that total with two extra points, two assists and most importantly, the win. For all of Noah’s offensive improvements over the years, this needs to be said: Joakim Noah is easily, easily, easily a top 3 big man passer in the league. A ranking I wouldn’t have dared given him a year ago. Hats off to the big fella.
Noah also wins the award for the best tweet of the night:
All jokes aside, this game wasn’t all bad for Cleveland. Rookie Tyler Zeller came in off the bench to add ten points and seven rebounds and slumping CJ Miles added another ten. Speaking of benches, Marco Belinelli took on a starters role for the second game in a row and completed his best game as a Chicago Bull. While he only drained two of his eight three point attempts, his 23 points was a game-high.
In the last 12 minutes, Joakim Noah got hit with a technical for complaining (which is still the worst rule change the NBA has made since like, forever). While Cleveland didn’t benefit too much, seeing as their made free throw was all-but-erased by a subsequent Marco and-1, that’s Noah’s fifth technical foul of the season, tying him for first place.
My favourite part of this game? Jeremy Pargo going Jannero Pargo on the Bulls. In about seven minutes he accumulated an assist and a turnover while going 0-3 from the field, in the most erratic way possible. He’d finish the game with nine points coming off 12 attempts.
The next time two times the Bulls play the Cavalier’s, they will be in the United Center, on January 7th and February 26th. Hopefully, Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving will get a chance to face off for the first time this season.