Bulls-Cavs: Five Takeaways From Thrilling Opening Night Victory

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2. The role players fit their roles nicely in Game No. 1

First off, Kirk Hinrich played as many minutes as you and I did. That’s progress.

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Second, when the bench players got their minutes on Tuesday night, they took advantage. E’Twaun Moore scored 11 points in 14 minutes, Doug McDermott scored eight points in 16 minutes, Taj Gibson pulled down 10 big rebounds, and Joakim Noah grabbed nine rebounds with four assists. (More on Noah in a second.)

For this new system of getting everyone involved, the role players have to make their mark. Need an example? Tony Snell scored 11 points on just 4-of-9 shooting, but made some nice defensive plays, including stopping LeBron James in the open floor. (It was a weird play, but Snell stopped him. That’s all that matters, right?) Snell played the “Mike Dunleavy” role well, which is exactly what he needs to do while Dunleavy recovers from back surgery.

As for the Gibson-Noah duo off the bench, when they were in the ballgame, the game changed defensively for the Bulls and the energy picked up. Noah did tweak his non-surgery knee late in the game and was ruled out with a right knee contusion, but could play on Wednesday against Brooklyn.

Next: 3. Holy #@%^, Pau