The injury list is endless, but the Chicago Bulls aren’t giving up on this season, especially when they meet an even more dysfunctional team in the Cleveland Cavaliers, beating the Cavs 100-84 thanks to some great defense and a big night from D.J. Augustin and Carlos Boozer.
The book on Boozer says he’ll usually have a good game after an awful one, with tradition carrying on in their first win after four consecutive losses. He led Chicago with 19 points, adding 9 rebounds and 4 assists, enjoying a very good day with his mid-range shooting. A lot of it had to with Augustin, a point guard that doesn’t feel uncomfortable with leading a team or having the ball a lot in his hands. He played for 46 minutes, and it’ll continue to look like this while Marqise Teague is the only other guard available right now. Augustin scored 18 points, adding 5 rebounds and 10 assists, feeling this was some sort of proof that he has a place to be an important player in this league. That was a questionable thing after being cut by the Raptors for some reason (tanking???).
The Indiana situation, I had some good games there. At the same time, it was tough. The style of play maybe didn’t fit me a little bit. Coach Vogel had his guy that he went with, he played the majority of the minutes. I kind of knew that going in. The Toronto situation, I don’t know what happened there. But I just tried to stay professional and just keep myself ready.
The Bulls are still without Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler as well. Butler might have been able to play, but Thibodeau prefers letting him get back to full health, while Deng and Hinrich are probably sidelines for a bit longer. Meanwhile, Tony Snell picked up the slack with a great day of shooting, finishing with 17 points on 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and improving defense. There were questions about Snell entering the season, but he shows just how deep the Bulls are at small forward, and that his range isn’t affected by moving from college to the pros.
Mike Dunleavy is another small forward getting a lot more minutes than he expected to, adding 11 points and some nice passing, with Chicago using only Taj Gibson for meaningful minutes of the bench. Gibson scored 15 points, and is becoming a more meaningful part of the program this season, possibly getting closer to taking over Boozer’s starting role.
The Cavs? It’s hard to see any continuity or consistency with this team. Kyrie Irving is a huge talent but has awful games between great ones, finishing with 14 points on 5-of-16 from the field. The team quits on both ends of the floor very quickly, as the talent they have doens’t really shine when their effort is close to zero when it feels like the game is getting out of hand. The Cavs shot 40% from the field and were outrebounded 49-36, and scored only 13 points off 21 turnovers the Bulls committed.