After a season-ending injury to Kevin Love and a two-game suspension for J.R. Smith, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing the Chicago Bulls at the worst time. Instead of playing each other in what many predicted to be the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls and Cavs are squaring off one round earlier. If Game 1 was any indication of what we should expect going forward, we are in for one real entertaining series.
Early on, the Bulls surged ahead, taking a 27-15 lead at the buzzer. Led by Derrick Rose, who looked like he was tapping into his 2011 MVP form, Chicago looked like they haven't missed a beat since their elimination game against the Milwaukee Bucks. But, when you have two of the best players in the league in Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, you can only keep the Cavaliers down for so long.
Eventually, the Cavaliers came roaring back behind Kyrie's ability to score in bunches. Before the half, the Cavs were within striking distance. However, it didn't matter how close Cleveland got and how many haymakers they threw, the Bulls were up to the task, responding with with Rose and Pau Gasol. Both guys played a pivotal role, scoring a combined 46 points, helping Chicago secure the 99-92 Game 1 victory over the Cavaliers.
In the end, the back-and-forth between the Cavs and Bulls was more entertaining than Saturday's Mayweather vs. Pacquiao bout and it didn't even cost you $100. And hopefully we've finally hit our quota for references to that fight. We done? We good?