Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Chicago Bulls”

Are we not entertained?

The Cavs apparently brought their “A” game to Chicago for Game 4, rolling the Bulls to take a 3-1 series lead.

Or did they?

While it feels like Chicago has been competitive in this series – just ask the Bulls, they’ll tell you just how close they are to leading the series – the numbers don’t back it up. Last year, during the Cavs’ first-round sweep of Detroit, Cleveland won the four games by an average of 15.5 points. This year, in the three wins so far against the Bulls, they are winning by an average of 15.3 points. Not a big difference. In the three losses, the Bulls have shot 42 percent, 44 percent and 37 percent.

So, while it seems like a more competitive series, it really isn’t.

After posting a triple-double, there’s really not much more to say about LeBron. Nothing he does amazes me any more. According to Brian Windhorst in the Plain Dealer:

“Including his triple double in the Cavs’ Game 4 victory over the Chicago Bulls Sunday, James is off to the most well-rounded first-round performance of his career. That includes averaging 32 points and 11.3 rebounds in last season’s sweep of the Detroit Pistons.

“James is averaging 35 points, nine rebounds and eight assists against the Bulls, which are numbers no one else currently in the playoffs can match. Beyond the numbers, it is James’ efficiency that has been so impressive … James is shooting 59 percent (50-of-85) from the field and 55 percent (12-of-22) from 3-point range. He’s also averaging 2.5 blocks and 1.5 steals.”

And after Game 2, ESPN had this to say:

“LeBron James made 16 of his 23 shots to finish with 40 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds in the Cavs’ 112-102 victory over the Bulls in Game 2 of their first-round series. How does LeBron’s game compare to some of the bigger performances in recent playoff history? Let’s take a look at this using John Hollinger’s adjusted game score, essentially a single-number summary of how good a player’s game was, in terms of his box score statistics, adjusted for pace.

“The numbers can be roughly thought of on the scale of points: 30 is very good, 40 is great and 50 is spectacular.

“Last night, LeBron’s adjusted game score was 42.55, which is:

  • The best single game by any player in the first three nights of this postseason
  • The fourth best single postseason game of James’ career
  • The 13th best single game performance in the first round since 1996
  • The 24th best single game playoff performance in last 15 years”

Simply incredible. And LeBron has never had to miss the end of a crucial game because of menstrual cramps, the way Dwyane Wade had to in Game 3 against Boston.

I also am continuously surprised at the play of Antawn Jamison. It’s incredible how, time and again, he gets into position under the basket for a pass and an easy layup. I don’t know how the defense forgets about him so often, but the mid-season trade for him goes down as one of Danny Ferry’s best moves.

Game 5 is Tuesday.

13 more wins to go.

Play Today, Win Today

There’s a tradition in tournament play to not talk about the next step until you’ve climbed the one in front of you. I’m sure going to the state finals is beyond your wildest dreams, so let’s just keep it right there. – Coach Norman Dale

Pretty in the first quarter, gritty the rest of the way, the Cavs took the first step on what hopefully will be a long playoff road by beating the Bulls in Game 1 of their first-round series.

Like several of their games this year, the Cavs took a big early lead (22 points at one time, helped by seven turnovers and several missed shots by Chicago in the first quarter), let most of it dwindle before putting the game away with some clutch shooting down the stretch – after a Brad Miller basket cut the lead to seven with 2:29 to play, LeBron James’ traditional three-pointer and Mo Williams 3-point shot put the Cavs back up by 13 and sealed the win.

The Bulls actually outscored the Cavs over the final three quarters of the game, something that hopefully won’t give them momentum heading into Monday’s Game 2.

And while Derek Rose had 28 points and 10 assists for Chicago, Williams offset him nicely with 19 points and 10 assists. If Williams can stay close to Rose’s output for this series, what little chance the Bulls have to win the series evaporates quickly.

The Cavs were right at their season average in free-throw shooting as they hit 70 percent (12-of-17) for the game. Something to keep an eye on as the series progresses, plus the Cavs were weak from 3-point territory, hitting on six of 23 attempts.

Any rust the Cavs may have had due to taking time off or injuries was a non-issue, as Shaq looked ready as he and LeBron combined for 36 points and seven blocks.

Plus Shaq irritated the crap out of Joakim Noah. Always fun.

Game 2 comes Monday night.

One down, 15 more to go.

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