The Cleveland Cavaliers have extended their winning streak to 12 as they ran the Chicago Bulls out of the United Center with a 113-91 win. It was a full team effort, as LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Dwyane Wade all had strong nights to fuel the team’s win.
The Cavs started the game off with the type of focus and intensity typically reserved for road games in Miami or Atlanta. The only saving grace in the opening minutes were a few outstanding individual efforts by James, punctuated by a highlight slam. That effort seemed to ignite the team, as the Love joined the party with 8 first quarter points. As is usually the case, when LeBron and Love are rolling, it typically opens things up for the rest of the team.
Stop me if you have heard this before, but the game opened up with the bench in to start the second quarter. Wade was aggressive against his former team and seemed to find a groove offensively. Unfortunately the immediate success lead to some ill-advised heat checks, but he eventually reigned it in and continued to be effective.
Any hope the Bulls had of making a run out of halftime was quickly put to rest, as Love exploded for 10 points in the first two and half minutes of the third quarter. It’s possible that Tyronn Lue hypnotized the team at halftime to trick them into believing it was the first quarter, but I haven’t seen any reports confirming my theory.
The final blow to the Bulls came in the fourth quarter, as LeBron and Wade had a vintage scoring outburst. They took turns dealing blow after blow until the game was officially out of hand.
- Jeff Green continues to be a huge difference maker for the Cavs. His play in the first half was a catalyst for the success of the team. When the front court becomes more crowded with the return of Tristan Thompson, it’s likely we’ll see more minutes sacrificed from Crowder and Frye, instead of Green.
- This was probably the best offensive performance Wade has had as a Cavalier. He hit some shots with just an unbelievably high degree of difficulty. Whether it be his signature step-back jumpers, or athletic finishes at the rim, Wade was electric as he roasted his former team for 24 points.
- It was a bit of an uneven performance from Jae Crowder. The Bulls, like many of the Cavs recent opponents, elected to put their five on Crowder and cheat off him. Crowder struggled with his decision making early in the game, and was unable to expose Robin Lopez off the close out. Eventually he adjusted to what they were doing, and put together a decent shooting night from deep, going 3-7. It’s clear that Crowder just can’t expose centers off the dribble, so if he’s going to be effective he will need to remain prepared to shoot every time the ball comes to him.
- It’s nice to see the Cavs take care of a team they should beat. There was no allowing Chicago to hang around and forcing the starters to play too many minutes. LeBron came out, did his thing, and got to rest after 34 minutes. The depth of this team has really been the story of this winning streak, and the Cavs are showing a level of consistency we just haven’t seen over the past three years.