LeBron James wasn't great in Monday night's loss. He was sensational in Wednesday night's win. Funny how that works. James set the tone early, and the Cavs capitalized on Iman Shumpert's timely three point shooting to build a big early lead. The Chicago Bulls were able to make runs, but never seriously challenged.
Your Cleveland Cavaliers 106, the Chicago Bulls 91.
The first quarter of Game two went exactly how the first quarter of Game one did not. James Jones and Iman Shumpert could not miss, and the Cavs were firing. Derrick Rose's shooting, and Pau Gasol's play overall badly regressed. It was clear LeBron James had no interest in losing this game. He finished with 33 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and just two turnovers. There was still isolation basketball, but that's going to be a part of his game. If he can cut down on the miscues, it's likely he stays a very productive and helpful offensive force.
Iman Shumpert was very good on Monday night, and simply built on that performance. He strained his groin, and it will be interesting to see how that feels for him moving forward. He's an essential piece. His defense on Jimmy Butler was very good, he switched onto bigs, and he hit threes. You can't ask for more.
In the second half the Cavaliers got spectacular efforts from Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving. The latter picked his spots and scored at an incredibly efficient rate. 21 points on nine shots. He didn't force a thing, and while he didn't do it on his own, Derrick Rose finished with just 14 points on 20 shots. Thompson continues to be the Cavs jack of all trades on the defensive end. He was a major part of Butler's troubles (Butler scored 18 points on 14 shots, so I hesitate to say he was bad), was a major part of Gasol's troubles, and pulled down 12 rebounds.
The Cavs got great games from Matthew Dellavedova and James Jones. It's all tied up at one heading to Chicago. It isn't ideal, but J.R. Smith is coming back. We'll have more analysis tomorrow.