After getting routinely torched in the opening quarter, the Bulls defense tightened up enough to allow their suddenly resurgent bench to take control in the second, heading into the half with a 53-50 lead. The third quarter was where the game truly opened up, seeing the Bulls score 35 points (!) and take an 88-72 lead heading into the fourth, which was your standard garbage time fare.
The Bulls had essentially everyone in the rotation playing their best tonight. Carlos Boozer continued his strong play of late with 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists on 8-16 shooting. Joakim Noah had 11 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks on 5-13 shooting. Luol Deng had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists, and 4 steals on 7-12 shooting. Taj Gibson had 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocks on 8-9 shooting. Marco Belinelli had 15 points and 5 assists on 5-8 shooting. And so on, and so forth.
The Cavaliers, despite getting blown out in the end, played hard throughout, and were led by Dion Waiters' 18 points and 6 rebounds on 6-11 shooting. Kyrie Irving contributed 15 points and 6 assists of his own, while Tristan Thompson and C.J. Miles added 14 points and 15 points of their own, respectively. Miles, in particular, was a real problem for the Bulls early on, apparently suffering from back spasms in the second half.
There's not a whole lot more to say about this game: the Bulls' rebounding seems to be back on track, dominating the Cavs (47-31) in similar fashion to the recent Heat game, shooting 54% from the field, and scoring a season high 118 points. Things seem to be stabilizing a bit, but I'm still not convinced that they won't oscillate into another Hawks/Rockets/Bobcats stretch in the near future. After all, they are relying on Carlos Boozer playing at an All-Star level.
Player O' the Game: Carlos Boozer (24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal on 8-16 shooting)Tags: Carlos Boozer, Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Joakim Noah, NBA, Taj Gibson