Bulls 99, Cavs 92 (Bulls lead 1-0)
Every time the Chicago Bulls needed a big play in Game 1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers Derrick Rose delivered. Whether attacking the paint on the drive or pairing with Pau Gasol in the pick and roll, the Cavaliers simply had no answer for Rose who finished with 25 points and 5 assists. Then, with 4:30 remaining and Cleveland threatening to overtake the lead, Rose found Jimmy Butler for three of his 20 points to push the margin back out to 92-86 and they never looked back.
“I’m just trying to make the right play at the right time,” Rose said postgame. “I knew the big guy was following me to the lane, so it was up to me to make the right adjustment.”
That adjustment was helping Gasol feast on 18-foot jumpers throughout the night while totaling 21 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Dunleavy added 14 points, 13 of which coming in the opening period, as Chicago maintained control of the game from start to finish on their way to the 99-92 victory.
“For us, we had a bad start obviously, and we can’t afford to do that in Game 2 in order to even the series up,” LeBron James said postgame. “It could’ve been us being out of rhythm from eight days off, it could’ve been what the Bulls were doing, or a culmination of everything.”
Offensively, the Cavaliers struggled to find open looks in the halfcourt without the floor spacing provided by Kevin Love and J.R. Smith. They shot 42 percent from the field overall and connected on only 7-of-26 shots from beyond the arc as a team.
“No excuses,” Cavs coach David Blatt said postgame. “We just didn’t start well enough and we didn’t play well enough to win the game.”
Despite making only one of his five attempts from three, Irving finished with a game-high 30 points to go along with 6 assists. James totaled 19 points and 15 rebounds, but turned the ball over six times while shooting only 9-of-22 on the night.
— Brendan Bowers
Clippers 117, Rockets 101 (Clippers lead 1-0)
No Chris Paul, no problem. Blake Griffin tallied his second straight triple-double (and third of the postseason) to lead the Clippers to a 117-101 win over the Rockets.
BG collected 26 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists, Jamal Crawford had 21 points, and Matt Barnes added 20.
Dwight Howard led Houston with 22 points, and James Harden added 20 but had 9 turnovers.