Recap: Cavs 96, Bulls 83 (Or, 15: Cavs get their first win of the playoffs in semi-convincing fashion)
The Cavaliers outscored the Bulls 56-41 in the first half of a 96-83 victory in game 1 of the play offs. The Bulls were able to make a run late in the game to cut the lead to single-digits, but the Cavaliers were able to hold them off and get their first victory of the 2010 postseason. LeBron James led the Cavaliers with 24 points, and Derrick Rose led all scorers with 28 for the Bulls. Shaquille O’Neal had 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists in his first game since February.
Everyone knew coming in that the Cavs are a much more talented team than the Bulls. In the first half, it looked like Cleveland also wanted the win much more than the Bulls did. That’s a very effective combination. The Cavs weren’t running their offense like they’re capable of doing, but they were getting every loose ball and offensive rebound. On top of that, they forced plenty of turnovers, and guys were making their shots.
Even though the Cavs weren’t running the sets they usually do, everything they tried worked. Shaq was a monster in the post. Mo was aggressive and making shots off the dribble. Jamison and Mo were able to work a nice pick-and-roll game for back-to-back layups.
It also can’t be emphasized enough just how badly things were going for the Bulls in the first half. They weren’t getting good looks on offense. They committed too many silly fouls that cost them possessions. They were getting beaten to every loose ball. If the Bulls want to take a game from the Cavs, I’m not sure they can afford to play like that for a quarter, let alone a half.