The Cavaliers shot lights out in the early going. The Bulls gave up some open looks, but it hardly matter, opened or covered, the Cavs were knocking it down. The Bulls did just the opposite, and it certainly did not help that, for the second straight game, Carlos Boozer practically started the game with two fouls, finding himself on the bench for the majority of the first quarter.
The second quarter started with the Bulls down by four and with a true (all bench players) Unit: DJ Trainwreck on the floor. The second unit held its own and was bolstered by a fresh Boozer after a few minutes. Being the second consecutive game with Boozer in early foul trouble, it is also the second game in a row where Boozer was there to bolster this lineup. With Boozer being the most consistent scorer on this team, you would like to see him play the majority of the first quarter. However, having him in there with UDJTW helps balance that lineup. It would be interesting to see Boozer come off with Bogans early in the first, in order to have his services to start the second.
After all was said and done, the Bulls gave up another four points to the Cavs, to enter the locker room down by eight.
The beginning of the third quarter was a sloppy affair for both teams. Then the Bulls, led by Derrick Rose, took over the show. Rose was denied on a drive early in the quarter, and that woke him up. After that play, Rose started driving very effectively and nailed two threes, to kick start a quarter that would end with a dominate 32-9 performance by your Chicago Bulls.
The fourth quarter saw the Bulls slump, as they have been prone to do as of late. They lacked energy, but had enough in the tank to pull out a victory AND Deng hit a free throw at the end to ensure a free 100-point Big Mac for the fans! Seeing as they were playing the second half of a New Years back-to-back, the lack of energy is somewhat understandable.
It was good to see Rose reestablish his drive in this game, albeit against a soft Cavs front court. Regardless, Rose’s drives have been faltering lately and it was good to see him get to the rim and finish with confidence. The third quarter was a great effort by the Bulls top three scoring threats: Rose, Boozer, and Deng. All three played an aggressive brand of ball, taking it to a lesser opponent. Yet, it should be noted that the Cavs forgot how to shoot, pass, and dribble during this period (though, hats off to the shooting display they put on in the first half).