The Bulls travel to Cleveland to face a well rounded Cavalier team. Reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving starts the season healthy, along with Cleveland’s Center, Anderson Varejao(who also grabbed 23 boards in his regular season debut.)
Kirk and Boozer started the game on fire. Carlos Boozer hit 5 of his first 6 shots to finish the half with 12 points. Behind a 67% first half shooting performance and rare 60 point explosion, the Bulls defense also limited Cleveland to just 35 points.
The Cavaliers chipped away a little in the Third, until Boozer and Hamilton took over the offensive end. Hamilton hit 4 consecutive shots before the Cavs called a time-out.
Mighty Mouse (Nate Robinson) played more relaxed when setting up the offense. When he turned the speed on, he was able to capitalize due to mixing his drives up much better than we have seen all pre-season. Watching Robinson box-out for a rebound is a sight to see as well, as he was able to get position on Cleveland’s bigs and tap out or grab would-be easy rebounds for the opposition.
A rare sight to see, with a healthy 27-point lead, Coach Thibodeau started the fourth quarter with an all-bench unit. No Luol Deng, with Taj and Butler being the only 2011-12 Bulls on the floor. The bench unit struggled from the floor, looking at the refs to bail them out of every mistake. After five minutes, Thibs had enough and finished the game with a mix of starters and bench.
After signing a four-year extension on Wednesday, Bulls forward Taj Gibson was back to business. No frowns and shrugs like in the first game. He came out, and played his game, no more no less.
Five Bulls finish in double digits. Boozer and Hamilton score 19 each, and Nate Robinson scores 16 with 12 assists.
Bulls go on to win 115 to 86 on a 64% shooting night and move to 2-0 for the regular season.
The Bulls head back home to play New Orleans on Saturday.