The Cleveland Cavaliers are fresh off some late game heroics from their leader, LeBron James. The win was oddly reminiscent of LeBron's first stint with the Cavs. LeBron often tried to do too much and was helped by an undersized big man that brings constant hustle, a giant international player playing a sneaky great game and a headcase of a shooting guard hitting big shots.
Unfortunately the cloud that hangs over the future of this series continues to be the health of Kyrie Irving. An MRI Wednesday revealed that he is dealing with tendinitis in his left knee and a strain in his right foot. It was clear Tuesday night that he had no lift when he attempted to jump, rendering his fantastic jumper useless and his lack of explosiveness has removed his ability to get to the rim and finish. Irving at 60 percent offensively would be a huge lift for the Cavs, but it remains to be seen what level of play he can bring to the table for the rest of the series. But let's get to the game info:
Who? Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers
When? 7:00 p.m,
Where? Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio.
Where on my eyeballs? TNT
Enemy blog? Blog a Bull
While the list of questions is long for the Cavaliers, they have still put themselves in a favorable position for the rest of the series. They have regained home-court advantage for the series and have been able to survive having a shell of Irving and a Rudy Gay version of LeBron by receiving great play from their supporting cast. Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova and James Jones are all playing as well as you could possibly expect them to. If you are of the belief that LeBron will eventually regain his shooting touch and start taking better care of the ball, then there's plenty of reason for optimism. It's not crazy to think that one could regain confidence in their jumper after a game winning shot.
For the Bulls, they have injury concerns of their own. Pau Gasol is listed as questionable for Tuesday night's game and Taj Gibson appeared to get banged up in the closing minutes of game four. Derrick Rose is playing at a level we haven't seen from him in a long time and it remains to be seen if he can keep it up, but Jimmy Butler and the rest of the squad still have plenty of tools to try and capitalize on the wounded Cavs.
The key to the series continues to be the rebounding battle. The team that comes away with the most boards has won every game in the series. With LeBron as the only player capable of consistently generating offense, it's caused the Cavaliers to be a very turnover prone squad. So if you're going to be turning the ball over, you don't want to surrender MORE possession out of a failure to secure defensive boards. This of course means that the play of Thompson and Mozgov will continue to be a x-factor for the Cavs.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
The Cavs barely lost game one despite playing as bad as they possibly could and Chicago playing at an absurdly high level, they won game two in a blowout with Kyrie's injuries rendering him ineffective. I think they feed off the crowd and treat this game as a must-win. Cavs win 98-90.