The Chicago Bulls played well in their second game in their series with Cleveland, on Monday night, but they still fell by the score of 112-102. Joakim Noah led the way for the Bulls, and was booed relentlessly by the hometown fans (after making comments saying that the city of Cleveland “sucks”). Noah played great ball tonight on both ends of the floor. He attacked the basket relentlessly, made great passes, and got his hands on 13 rebounds. Noah cemented this game as perhaps the best of his career by putting in 25 points. Luol Deng picked up his game, after a passive performance in Game 1. Deng scored 20 points tonight on plenty of hard drives to the rim. He had the ball in his hands much of the time, alongside Rose, getting 5 assists. Rose and Hinrich combined for 14 assists. The team had a remarkable 25:4 assist-to-turnover ratio – really taking excellent care of the basketball.
LeBron James was simply too much, though. He was hitting shots in the face of every defender the Bulls threw his way. He was scoring on Deng, Hinrich, Taj Gibson, and James Johnson (also throwing down a nasty poster dunk in the rookie’s face). He exploded for 40 points and many of those points were on either notably difficult contested jump-shots or ridiculous looking lay-ups. He nearly had a triple-double with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
The Bulls kept it close throughout the game. They trailed at the half 50-52 and the lead was changing hands back-and-forth throughout the 3rd quarter. Then, midway into the final period, LeBron James just decided to take all the clutch shots and they were falling in for him. The Bulls should be content with their effort on the boards tonight, and the fact that they beat a much bigger Cav’ team in points-in-the-paint, as well. The Bulls will host the Cavs at the United Center for Games 3 & 4 (Game 3 on Thursday, 6:00 CST on TNT). The change of scenery may do Del Negro’s crew plenty of favors as they look to strike back after getting their backs pinned against the wall.