Game 77: Bulls at Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
1. Anyone who think the Bulls will be an easy mark in the playoffs are out of their gourd. They play so hard. The Cavaliers would win the series, I believe, but it's going to be hard fought. How much they would have in the next round is the problem. The Bulls execute offensively and defend. They are also well-coached. It's going to be a battle.
2. Today's game marked the Cavs' first 50-win season since the 2009-10 season. It's their eighth 50-win season in franchise history. Five of them have come during the LeBron James era (66 in 2008-09, 61 in 2009-10, 50 in 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2014-15).
3. There are only five games remaining in the regular season. They now have an insurmountable four-game lead on the Bulls. Just one more win will wrap up the No. 2 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race and the Central Division title. They only have three division titles in franchise history (1975-76, 2008-09 and 2009-10).
4. They extended their winning streak at The Q to 18 games in a row. It's the third-longest streak in franchise history. The others were a 23-game streak from Oct. 30, 2008 to Feb. 3, 2009, and a 22-gamer from Dec. 15, 1988 to March 2, 1989. They have just three home games remaining in the regular season. They've outscored the opposition at home during the streak, 105.9-91.3. More impressively, they've held the 18 teams to just 40.5 percent shooting from the field and 32.6 percent from behind the arc.
5. Adding a player like Timofey Mozgov was important when going up against a team like Chicago. The Bulls' frontcourt of 7-0 Pau Gasol and 6-11 Joakim Noah can be imposing. Now, the Cavs have the size to deal with them. Their top reserves are Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic.
6. Cavs power forward Kevin Love returned for the Cavaliers with 11 points and four rebounds. Love is needed to complete the Cavs' offensive attack. If he's playing at a high level, along with James and Kyrie Irving, they are going to be a load to deal with in the playoffs. Even with Love back in the lineup, the Cavs were outrebounded, 45-40.
7. The Cavs won the season series with the Bulls, 3-1.
8. Bulls center Joakim Noah doesn't seem to like LeBron James very well. The feeling is probably mutual. Noah tries to act like a tough guy. I don't think he really is, however.
UP NEXT: at Milwaukee, BMO Harris Bradley Center, 8 p.m. Wednesday
SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Mike Dunleavy (6-9, 230)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Joakim Noah (6-11, 232)
SG J.R. Smith (6-6, 220) vs. Jimmy Butler (6-7, 220)
Bulls - G Derrick Rose, G Kirk Hinrich
Danny Crawford, David Jones, Eli Rose