Ciaran Darcy is here to review all the action from the Chicago Bulls-Cleveland Cavaliers game.
With the emphasis before Thursday night’s game on honouring the two Chicago Bulls team members who made the All-Star team before they squared-off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, equipped with their own All-stars in the form of Lebron James, Mr. Derrick Rose decided to remind the world of what he could do with a stellar performance that provided flashbacks to his MVP form of 2011.
Rose had points and seven assists, with four rebounds, a steal and two turnovers but it was the manner in which he got them which was the most pleasing thing for Chicago Bulls fans. He attacked the rim viciously with speed and purpose, and crossed up defenders with moves that most players can only dream of trying.
Rose seems to be returning to his old-self as the former Memphis guard has scored 20 points or more in five of his last six games. His passing has also improved with 25 assists and only five turnovers in his last three.
Even though Rose wasn’t an All-Star this year or the last three, if he keeps this level of play up, this writer wouldn’t be surprised if we see him return to the showcase weekend next year, but a lot more patience is required as Rose is still figuring out his game again after two-and-half-years out injured.
“I’m just letting my game come to me,” Rose said speaking on his performance. “That’s all I’m doing. I’m being patient with the ball. … I’m trying to read the defence and pass the ball to the right people that are open.”
The Bulls set the tone in the first quarter against a Cavs team that looked a bit jaded and Chi-town held the lead throughout, eventually pulling away in the fourth with the game finishing 98-113 in favour of Tom Thibodeau’s men.
It was a disappointing performance from the Cavs who have been on fire lately, but they will be extremely pleased with their recent form having recorded 14 wins from 16 games.
The victory was a big moment for the Bulls, as they are going into the All-Star break with a win against a team that they have failed to beat twice so far this season and who is definitely one of their biggest threats in the East come play-off time.
Chicago once again showed their depth, as Tony Snell (coming off his career high 24 points against Sacramento on Tuesday) came in again for the injured All-Star Jimmy Butler and was once again electric, shooting nine from eleven, from the field.
He also caused a number of turnovers, especially when marking Lebron James who gave up the ball eight times against the sophomore.
Pau Gasol recorded his 14th straight double-double, which brought him within one of Michael Jordan’s team record of 15. Joakim Noah also posted an impressive ten points, 15 rebounds and seven assists with Taj Gibson getting 13 off the bench.
For the Cavs it was a tough loss but an understandable one as they came into the game without the much-improved Kevin Love. Lebron went for a game-high 31 points and four rebounds as he did his best to get Cleveland going but ultimately they couldn’t deal with Chicago’s dribble penetration, energy and ball movement.
Kyrie Irving, who was one of the point guards chosen ahead of Rose to be an All-Star had 17 points and seven assists. He now has 58 points and 22 assists in three meetings against the Bulls this year, which makes for interesting reading when compared to Rose’s 68 points and 13 assists during the same period.
The win marked the Bulls’ fourth in a row and Chi-town now has a game and half advantage over James and co. going to the break and if they do meet in the play-offs it is certainly going to be a series for the ages between these two Eastern Conference championship contenders.
Ciaran Darcy, Pundit Arena