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Bulls Fri Apr 23 2010

As The Bulls Turn: Chicago Beat Cleveland

The Bulls have delivered more in this playoffs series than I thought possible from them. They've delivered two straight well-played games. Granted, they've only won one of those games. Still, I didn't see them stringing together more than one or two quarters (and to be fair, that's about all they've delivered, but I'm being nice) of more-than-adequate basketball in a row. What I did see? Them needing to get Kirk Hinrich on track; them needing anything from Luol Deng; sustaining Joakim Noah's samurai-style and Derrick Rose taking smart, smart, smart shots (for the most part).

Rose was at his absolute best. Cutting into the lane, making controlled shots and "magical" shots; distributing the ball and 0! turnovers for the second year point. Luol Deng showed up offensively, defensively? not so much, still progress is progress. Noteworthy with Deng is that he actually did slow the LeBron Express which, heretofore, had been taking Luol to church and school and the grocery store until last night. Two impressive sequences from Luol in the fourth that totally forced LeBron James to stall, reboot and try again, in one case; and actually led LBJ to a turnover in the other case. Joakim Noah, crazy "Tigger-tailed" manchild! Rebounds were power pellets for JoNo last night and he was nomming 'em all. And, of course, Captain Kirk finally showed up. 4-4 from the Republic of Three Pointers; 9-12 from the field; five boards, five dimes, one steal and a mere (singular) turnover for the Jayhawk product.

Of course, the Cavaliers did rally from a 21-point deficit, had the ball and the chance to win with 3 ticks left on the game clock and they missed a galling nine free throws, six of those misses belonging to Mr MVP, LeBron James. Seriously, James was thinking about the new Legends of the Guardian flick or something for the majority of last night. In spite of his seeming lack of "motivation" LeBron still nearly had a triple-double and nearly led a full comeback and a 3-0 lead. That's how good he is.

A focused, "kill-mode" Cavs team is still going to demolish the Bulls. Game 4 is Sunday afternoon from the Madhouse once again and we'll see if the Bulls can sustain their new swagger and if LeBron can show up with more than just a whimsical notion of winning.

 
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