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Chicago Beats Cleveland 86-85

To be honest, I thought it was all but certain that the Bulls were going to lose this game against King James and the Cavaliers. They hadn't played very well on the Cleveland's home court and even in the games where they managed to stay close, the Cavaliers always found a way to win. This time it would be the Bulls who would shut the door on the Cavs for an 86-85 victory.

The Bulls defense was a big reason for their comeback win against the Bucks after being down by 18 points and defense was the deciding factor in this game as well. Let's start with Noah who defended Shaq pretty well in the paint. While O'Neal scored 14 points, it came on 7 of 13 shooting from the field. Kudos to the Bulls for not choosing to automatically double team him in the paint. I think the odds are in their favor if they play O'Neal straight up rather than allowing him find open shooters as the Cavaliers have many. Another instance where the defense came up huge was on the final play of the game. With a chance to do it to the Bulls again, LeBron James would have the last shot of the game. In the past in Quicken Loans Arena, James would probably have somehow beaten the defense for a basket or somehow drew a foul in the closing seconds. However, this would not be the case. Both Noah and Deng would successfully defend James' drive to basket forcing a turnover with less than a second left to seal the win for the Bulls.

While this road win was especially important, the Bulls continue to struggle with hitting from the outside. Being that they are jump-shooting team for the most part, they have to do a better job of knocking down open shots when the defense gives them open looks. The team shot only 40% from the field and while Chicago was fortunate enough to win this game, it is definitely not the formula for sustained success. If the team is going to take the next step this season, as some have predicted, the offense will have be more consistent.

James Tillman

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