CLEVELAND – Fresh off their 54-point throttling of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Chicago Bulls continued their strong play in winning Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, 99-92 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In a series that many expected to happen in the conference finals, Game 1 did not disappoint—unless you’re a Cleveland sports fan–as Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 25 points.
With the exception of two ties in the second half, the Bulls led the entire game by as much as 16 points, as they were able to thwart Kyrie Irving’s 30 points and LeBron James’ 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Their first game since the season-ending of power forward Kevin Love, his absence showed Cleveland just how badly his ability to stretch the floor was missed, as Pau Gasol went 6-7 in the third quarter at one point, en route to 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Filling in for J.R. Smith, suspended for the first two games for striking Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert finished with 22 points.
Unable to overcome the loss of Love and Smith, Cleveland’s inability to shoot from outside showed as they went 7-of-26 from three-point range, while Chicago shot 10-of-18.
Game 2 is Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena at 7pm ET.