That sure was…something.
LeBron breaks Chicago’s heart again.
I have no idea how the Cavs won that game. LeBron played poorly, again. Kyrie was terrible. They shot 5-25 from deep. They nearly doubled the Bulls turnover total. They only corralled six offensive rebounds. They trailed by double-digits twice, including in the second half.
But somehow, LeBron did it again. It’s really pretty amazing what he’s been able to do. Without Kevin Love, JR Smith doing JR Smith things, Kyrie being banged up and David Blatt being in way over his head, LeBron still wins. And that craziest part of all of this?
He’s not playing well. At all.
He hasn’t played well in one single game yet this series. In Game 4, he and Kyrie combined to go 12-40! Overall, there’s been some ugly basketball this series.
On Cleveland’s side, it’s been LeBron and Kyrie. They haven’t played well and now it looks like Kyrie might be hurt more severely than we thought. Thibs famous overload defense has caused LeBron fits, and he’s not getting the calls at the rim that he’s used to getting. He’s also struggled shooting the ball, coming in well below his average on jumpers.
But the reason this series is now tied and the odds swing back in Cleveland’s favor, is that Chicago’s stars aren’t playing that way.
Lets start with Derrick Rose. Yes, he (luckily) banked in the three to win Game 3 but he’s been really bad at times. I’d be unbelievably frustrated if I were a Bulls fan. Go back and watch when LeBron switches onto him, as he seems to take it personally. He ends up forcing, usually a bad, shot, solely because he wants to show he can score on him after what we’ve seen in the past.
Rose also seems much more worried about winnings games by himself rather than just winning the game, period. He’s forcing a ton of bad shots. Here are his shooting numbers below.
Game 1: 11-26
Game 2: 6-20
Game 3: 10-26
Game 4: 11-23
Seriously. Those are some rough, rough numbers. To be fair, nearly everyone is shooting at an ugly clip in this series but Rose seems unfazed. He keeps shooting, even bad shots. They won’t win the series unless this changes over the last few games.
Also, Jimmy Butler has been pretty bad. He’s doing all he can trying to guard LeBron, and doing a pretty good job considering. But he’s struggling a bit on the offensive end. He’s yet to shoot 50% in this series!
But the Bulls biggest problem, pun intended, is probably their front line. It’s tough, man. You need Jo on the floor to rebound and defend, as best he can, but he’s killing them on the offensive end.
He’s 5-23 at shots at the basket. Not a typo, 5-23. Do you know how hard it is to do that? There have been a few that haven’t even hit the rim! But if you bring him off the floor, Pau and Niko can’t guard anyone. They’ve tried to put Niko on LeBron a few times to give Butler a breather and it turns into a Cleveland lay-up line.
I don’t envy Thibs in this series, it’s tough to figure out how best to go about the situation. It would be much worse if Kevin Love was healthy but even with this current lineup, it’s no easy task.
The odds swing back into Cleveland’s favor as this turns into a three-game series, with two in Cleveland. The wild-card is going to be Kyrie and his health. If he’s even at 75%, the Cavs probably move on and eventually end up in the Finals.
If he can’t move, like he couldn’t in Game 4, this is back to a 50/50 deal and whoever comes out of this series will end up representing the East.
Enjoy this while you can.