Chicago Bulls Defeat Cavaliers, Take Series Lead


After a record-setting victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Chicago Bulls are now proving themselves in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they’ve now won their second consecutive road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

A series that many NBA fans view as the real Eastern Conference Finals matchup definitely lived up to its expectations in Game 1.

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With Kyrie Irving, the return of LeBron James to Cleveland, and the addition of Kevin Love, many NBA experts, analysts and journalists picked the Cavaliers to come out of the Eastern Conference.

Despite losing three of four games against the Cavaliers in the regular season, the Bulls weren’t lacking in confidence, relating to a possible first round match-up with the Cavs.

“I think were a confident group,” Noah said after the game.  “And it would be great to play them in the Playoffs.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone how confident the Bulls were in Game 1, and why wouldn’t they have been? Not only is the team coming off of their most convincing win of the season; a 54-point win over the Milwaukee Bucks, which was the highest margin of victory in a close-out game in NBA history, but the team is also completely healthy at the right time, playing against the right team.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lack playoff experience, when you exclude LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Mike Miller and James Jones, and the Cavs are without Kevin Love, after Love injured his left shoulder in Game 4 of Cleveland’s sweep against Boston.

Love underwent surgery to his left shoulder, and has been ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. J.R. Smith was suspended after his altercation with Boston’s Jae Crowder during Cleveland’s Game 4 victory as well.

The Cavs will be missing two key players, that when healthy, contribute 26 points per game and a little over 10 rebounds per game for Cleveland.

The Bulls were 3-2 in their last 5 road games in the postseason before Monday’s game against Cleveland, and are coming off of a huge road win in Milwaukee.

After Monday’s 99-92 victory over Cleveland, the Chicago Bulls are now 4-2 in their last six road games in the postseason.

The Bulls were impressive, leading the game the entire 48 minutes, and became the first team to hold one of LeBron James teams without a lead in a game in the playoffs.

The Bulls were led by Derrick Rose, who had a team-high 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists. Mike Dunleavy’s shooting was also a key factor to the game; Dunleavy shot 5-6 from the field, and 3-4 from 3-point land, and had 14 points in the game.

The Bulls jumped out to a 10-2 run in the games first few minutes and Dunleavy’s offense helped the Bulls jump out to a huge lead, as the Bulls held the Cavs to 15 points in the first quarter, 27-15. Many analysts are hinted signs of rust as it related to the Cavs slow start to the Cavs offense in Game 1.

The Cavaliers hadn’t played a game for eight days leading up to Monday’s game.

Based on how the Bulls handled the Milwaukee Bucks in game 6, their defensive intensity shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The major difference maker in the game, was Pau Gasol, who helped the Bulls expand their lead from 13 to 17 points, when the Cavs cut the Bulls lead to just three points at the start of the third quarter.

With three minutes remaining in the third quarter, Gasol scored 13 points during that period, and most of them were pick and roll plays, off of Derrick Rose’s drives to the basket.

Gasol will be a player to watch for in Game 2, because the Cavaliers will more than likely adjust to take that 15-foot jumper away, which was a major factor in the game, and helped Gasol record another double-double, with 21 points, and 10 rebounds.

The Cavaliers made a late push before halftime to cut the Bulls 27-15 point lead to five, and with Kyrie Irving scoring nine straight points down the stretch in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers reduced a 15-point Bulls lead to four with just two minutes remaining in the game.

But, the Bulls pulled away with a Jimmy Butler shot off of the glass with less than a minute remaining in the game to secure the 99-92 victory.

Next: Bulls/Cavs: Position-By-Position Breakdown