Recap: Bulls 100, Cavs 91 (Or, starting the new year out with a bang immediately followed by a fizzle)

January 1st, 2011 by John Krolik

Overview: The Cavaliers scored 61 points in the first half before scoring 30 points in the second half of a 91-100 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Derrick Rose led the Bulls’ comeback charge with 28 points and 11 assists, with 12 of those points coming in the pivotal third quarter.

Don’t call it a comeback, we all knew that would happen bullets:

Considering that the Cavs are the worst team in basketball, were missing their three best players, and were playing a very good basketball team, that could have gone a lot worse. The Cavs did everything right in the first half — they hit deep jumpers whenever they were left open, they pushed the ball at every opportunity to keep the Bulls from setting up their half-court defense, and they generally outhustled the Bulls all over the court. Jamison made some tough shots, Powe had some crazy buckets inside, Ramon caught the Bulls off guard a few times with drives, and Manny Harris thrived in the open court. In short, everything went absolutely perfect.

In the second half, Derrick Rose decided he’d had enough and decided to completely destroy the Cavs. When he wanted to go to the basket, he blew past his man and eluded the help defender with a series of ridiculous acrobatic displays. When he took a three, he hit it. When the Cav collapsed on him, he found the open man. The difference between having a superstar and not having a superstar is so huge in this league — once Rose started doing his thing, the Cavs didn’t know who to give the ball to, and the game completely fell apart. If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that having an Alpha dog really matters.

The other big storyline from this game is that JJ Hickson finally got his confidence back. He was the recipient of some nice interior passes and dunked them, had some nice drives, and even found the mid-range shot that has eluded him for so long. I worry that that mid-range/pull-up game is fool’s gold for JJ, because he’s so effective at the basket and has been extremely inconsistent on the perimeter, but maybe he can build on this performance.

Here’s  a somewhat random note: we have to talk about the Cavs being the bizarro version of the Heat. The Cavs were improbably decent for the first part of the season, and the Heat were unfathomably average. Then they played each other, and we all know how that went. Since that game, the Cavs have won once and the Heat have lost once. The Heat’s loss came two days after the Cavs’ win, and the Heat needed a miracle comeback to avoid losing on the same day the Cavs won. Today, the Cavs played a perfect Heat while the Heat got shellacked, then collapsed in the third quarter as the Heat destroyed the Warriors in the third. This is weird, right?

That’s all I really have for tonight. Anthony Parker is not going to shoot well when he’s asked to create offense, Jamario Moon is bad at basketball, and I wonder why Hollins was DNP-CDed. Until later, everyone.