Bulls-Cavs: Five Takeaways From Thrilling Opening Night Victory

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The 50th season of Chicago Bulls basketball got off to a fantastic start on Tuesday night. The Bulls jumped out to a 1-0 start on the season with a 97-95 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers. Here’s five takeaways from a thrilling Opening Night win for the Bulls.

One down, 81 more to go for the Chicago Bulls.

Nikola Mirotic led all Bulls scorers with 19 points, Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler locked down defensively, and the Bulls escaped the regular season opener with a 97-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Just like the preseason, there were stretches where the Bulls looked like a dangerous team. Then, there were stretches where the Bulls couldn’t find the basket. But, when it counted most, the Bulls made the plays they had to down the final stretch of the game to hold off LeBron James and the shorthanded Cavaliers.

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In his official NBA coaching debut, Fred Hoiberg appeared to be the anti-Tom Thibodeau. Kirk Hinrich and Bobby Portis didn’t see action, but 10 different Bulls played at least 14 minutes on Tuesday night. Jimmy Butler played over 36 minutes, but Hoiberg had a legitimate reason to play Butler some Thibodeau-like minutes.

According to reports after the game, Hoiberg wanted Butler on the same rotation as LeBron James, who played 36:04 against the Bulls. That makes total sense, being that Butler knocked away the final inbound pass from Cleveland that was headed in James’ direction on the final possession of the game. (For a rookie head coach, he’s grasping this pro game quite nicely, eh?)

With that being said, here’s five takeaways from the Bulls in their Opening Night victory.

Next: 1. It was a grind, but Rose and Butler made plays when they needed to