The English FA Cup Final is finally upon us between two of the top teams in the country when Manchester City face off against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium. City have recently been crowned Premier League champions for a fifth time in six seasons and a third time in a row, and have a Champions League final ahead of them […]
How Will Cavaliers React In Game 2 Of NBA Playoffs Vs. Bulls?
Something happened in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night that never had before: a LeBron James team never led at home. Indeed the Bulls started fast and never trailed in stealing Game 1 99-92. The Cavaliers badly missed starters Kevin Love, who is out for the season, and J.R. Smith, who will also miss Game 2 due to suspension. How will the team play in Game 2? The Cavs are 6-point favorites on BetOnline NBA odds but the Bulls are now -115 series favorites after stealing home-court advantage.
Bulls' Big 3 Steps Up
Derrick Rose had 25 points, five rebounds and five assists, Pau Gasol added 21 points and 10 rebounds, 13 points in the third quarter when the Cavaliers rallied back from a 16-point deficit, and Jimmy Butler added 20 points and a clinching, driving bank shot with 30.6 seconds left. Gasol repeatedly found himself with a wide-open look at the basket from the free throw line as Cavaliers defenders played the pick-and-roll by chasing Rose. This is the third straight time the Bulls have beaten LeBron's team in a Game 1. The Bulls lost each of the other two instances in five games.
LeBron nearly had a triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists but made just 9 of 22 shots and had six turnovers. It was James traveling with 3:40 left and the Bulls leading 92-86; James forced into Bulls defensive coverage, leaping in the air and throwing right to Rose for a turnover with 2:09 left and the Bulls leading 94-88; and James unable to finish at the basket with Gasol big in front of him with 51.9 seconds left and the Bulls leading 94-90. James also had trouble getting to the free-throw line, managing to only make one free-throw out of his two attempts.
“I have to be better,” James said. “I wasn't that good. I have to be much better.”
Butler was James’ initial defender on 73 of 75 half-court possessions Monday. James scored 15 of his 19 points when guarded by Butler but was 7-of-18 with five turnovers against him.
Miller Back To Bench?
Due to Love’s injury and Smith’s suspension, David Blatt inserted Mike Miller and Iman Shumpert into the starting lineup. The result was not positive, as the Cavaliers were outscored by 20 points in the 14 minutes Miller and Shumpert were on the court together. During that span, the Bulls shot 62 percent (16-of-26), including 7-of-8 from behind the arc. The Cavaliers are 3-5 without Love this season, including 0-2 against the Bulls. Expect Miller to take a seat again. He didn't play all in Round 1 against Boston.
One thing that bodes well for Cleveland in Game 2 is that there is only one day off in between Games 1 and 2. Rose is averaging 24.3 points per game on 48 percent shooting in four games these playoffs with at least two days of rest, compared to 14 points per game on 30 percent shooting when he’s had only one day of rest. Rose checked out of Monday's game with 22 seconds left after suffering what he described later as a "stinger" in his right shoulder. He will play in Game 2.
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