Derrick Rose was looking forward to matching up against the Cavaliers' first round pick Kyrie Irving when the teams played each other at Quicken Loans Arena on January 20th. However, Rose would be forced to watch Irving play from the bench as he would miss his third straight game with a nagging toe injury. Fresh off a 21-point blowout over the Phoenix Suns, the Bulls did not let their guard down against a young, talented Cavaliers' team. As they did against the Suns, the Bulls took control of the game after a close first quarter and cruised to a 114-75 victory, improving their record to 14-3.
How dominant were the Bulls in this game? Well defensively, they limited the Cavaliers to a horrendous 30 percent shooting from the field. Chicago also set a franchise record with 16 blocked shots while outrebounding the Cavaliers 54-38. The one thing that stood out to me about their effort on the defensive end, was they continued to play with high intensity despite enjoying a double-digit lead for most of the game.
The Bulls also overwhelmed the Cavaliers from an offensive standpoint as well. They connected on 55 percent of their shots from the floor, including 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. Chicago also showed patience on offense for a majority of the game, recording 27 assists on 46 field goals. The most impressive aspect of Chicago's offense in this game was their production inside. Usually, I'm very critical of the Bulls' lack of consistent scoring inside. Needless to say, I was pleased to see them score an astounding 50 points in the paint, by far their best effort around the rim this season.
With a win over the Cavaliers, the Bulls are now 3-1 without Derrick Rose in the lineup and he may sit out their next game against the Charlotte Bobcats as well. As a fan, I would like to see Rose suit up as soon as possible. However, I am beginning to think his injury could be a blessing in disguise as a number of players have stepped up in his absence, thus showing they are capable of producing without their star player
James Tillman is a resident of the Chicago-land area who has been a Bulls' fan since the 1987-1988 season. James is currently a fan blogger on Yahoo Sports and sports contributor for Sports Rantz magazine. For interesting discussions about the NBA, NFL and MLB, follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693.
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