I spent an hour trying to figure out how to get this game in Ohio. Watched the Pistons play the Raptors on NBA Network while I was searching, and checked out a bevy of would be Cavs draft picks. Impressions: Valanciunas is is a foul machine, but he is agressive, and has broad shoulders, a nice upper body and is aggressive on both ends of the floor. Brandon Knight is much more comfortable at the point than he was last year. Greg Monroe is going to be a star. I want Tristan to develop into this type of player. Andre Drummond is incredibly nimble for a 270 pound man.
Eventually, I pay $7 to upgrade my cable package to get NBC Comcast. While waiting for my cable package to upgrade I start browsing box scores. Harrison Barnes’ 20 point 8-11 outing the night leaves me with a knot in my stomach. Festus Ezili all over the highlights for Golden State. Dion Waiters scares the crap out of me.
and… the game is blacked out in by “viewing area.” Grrr… Scramble mode.
1st Half Notes:
I’m watching the Chicago feed on a questionable website off of a stream from Al Jazeera. The world is an amazing place.
Champagna? Oh sorry, that’s Champaign, IL. We’re in the home of the fighting Illini.
Weird dichotomy here: Boozer much thinner, Tristan much thicker.
Starting out, some nice defense by Kyrie: active hands, playing out to half court.
Miles: two nice possessions in a row showing off a decent slashing game and a nice pullup
Tristan! Running right hand hook with the clock going down, and then a stepback J plus a freethrow (hit the J, missed the freethrow), from opposite blocks no less.
Kirk Heinrich looks like he never left the Bulls: completely comfortable running the point and his jumper is sharp.
Waiters in at 5:00 left in the 1st. Looks like he’s the backup point guard.
Zeller with no hesitation draining a faceup 18 footer from the left wing. Splash.
A couple of very nice pick and rolls initiated by Waiters… to Andy… to Zeller cutting… soft slam.
Cavs running lots of dribble handoffs and downscreens on the wings. Much more active and disciplined tonight running the offense.
Harangody in… Matched up with Taj Gibson. This can’t end well.
- Taj Jumps foot higher than Harangody to grab a board. ‘Gody flails hoping for a bailout call – no go.
- Taj outworks Zeller and ‘Gody for an o-board and putback — the third o-board of the possession.
- Taj forces a jumpball agaisnt Luke with some relentless dive on the floor defense. We know what happens next.
- ‘Gody! No hesitation 3 from the left wing. This is what he has to do to stay in the league.
- Another Jumper! Luke ends up with a +14 on a 9 point first half with 3-3 shooting 2-2 from the line with no boards. We’ll call this a draw. I owe Hentrick $5.
Casspi sighting. I forgot we had a small forward on this team. He comes in agressive, cutting, looking for his shot: hits a nice three.
Taj with a wicked baseline spin on Lil’ Z (we’re taking nicknames for a test drive tonight). “He just left him standing alone in a world so cold,” Stacey King of Bulls lore with the call for NBC Comcast Sports Chicago.
5 Minutes left in the half. Starters back in. TT makes a nice play to get a jump ball on an O-Board, but is bent over so far that he doesn’t even get off the ground. Someone needs to do some calf work.
21 point lead going into the half. The Cavs played great, and the Bulls could not have played worse.
2nd Half Notes:
Gee cannot pass the ball fast enough.
14-0 run to start the half for the bad guys. Scott content to let the Cavs work through this. Kyrie finally makes a layup at 6:50 left in the quarter. Cavs came out so flat that paper is jealous (groan).
Gee with an horrific foray into the lane leading to a turnover. The Bulls are playing five feet off him and he won’t shoot. Stacey King notes that Chicago’s run is due to the fact that TT and Gee don’t have to be “accounted for on offense,” and that the Bulls are playing “5 on 3″ on defense. He’s not wrong.
C.J. Miles with 5 straight points on a nice bank layup and then 3 pointer from the right wing.
Kyrie misses a 25 footer leading to this exchange between King and Funk: “Can Kyrie shoot a perimeter shot?” “That’s definitely a part of his game that he needs to work on.” They’re either ignorant or prescient. For this game it’s the latter.
Late in the third Kyrie and Waiters are on the floor together, and it’s ugly. Neither seems to know what to do off the ball. But having two guys who can push seems deadly until they screw it up. Let’s hope the figure it out.
Kirk Heinrich scores 5 points in 13 seconds with a Jimmy Butler steal in the interim. Is Kyrie guarding him? I read a link today that said that KI was the worst defender in the league last year. Well, there’s no where to go but up.
Zeller looks like a rookie and is consistently getting out muscled on the boards. A senior should not be this thin. Someone get this kid some Mass Gainer. Mercifully, this quarter is over.
Play is ragged on both sides. The bulls just tied the game. I’m officially sick of preseason.
Bulls are a mess when Heinrich is not on the floor. And winning the battle for backup is Nate Robinson. Whoa.
Fast forward to 3 minutes left. Waiters has scored or assisted on 5 out of 6 field goals in the 4th, showing a nice array of step back one legged jumpers, corner threes, and pick and roll kick outs to the perimeter. Even though he’s had some sloppy passes, I’m breathing a sigh of relief. The kid seems fearless.
Casspi has also hit 2 straight 3s. Gee is officially on notice. The starting gig is up for grabs.
Smardo! Bailout jumper from the left elbow with the shot clock running down. Boobie! From the left corner. He was due.
Cavs up 10 with 1:30 left.
Ugh. The Cavs cannot get the ball over half court. And this is the most visibly pissed I’ve seen B. Scott. We’ll call this a learning experience for Waiters.
Marco Belinelli gets the Bulls 6 points in less than 30 seconds. The lead is 2 with 21 seconds left
Four turnovers in the last 45 seconds, 2 of them by Boobie. This is a teaching moment.
Zeller with an O-Board! Goes to the line and hits 1 of 2 with very nice form.
Jimmy Butler misses a 27 footer that he may or may not have been fouled on. It’s official: Rodney Mott and Gary Zielinski do not want to spend any more time in Champaign. Cavs Win!
Not worried about Kyrie at all. It was just an ugly game, but he was trying to play off the ball more. Not worried about Andy either. Gee has regressed. I’m wondering if he worked at all this summer. There needs to be a concerted effort to get him some easy buckets at the beginning of Saturday’s game, or this thing could snowball. Casspi should be starting and Azibuike should be backing him up at this point.
Oh, and CJ miles was a steal. Pencil him in for 35 minutes a night easy.
For all the talk of Smardo’s offseason, he’s still a player with limited upside. I’d rather take my lumps with Zeller.
The Bulls are going to be a mess some nights this year, but their defense will always keep them in games. If Heinrich goes down though, they’re screwed.
Saint Weirdo is a rookie with a lot of upside.