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Find out the scoop on the CAVS from award-winning sports writer Bob Finnan.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Game 1: Bulls at Cavs

Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7

1. The Cavaliers found out that life without Kevin Love might be difficult. They hung in there on the boards, 42-39, but that was only because of LeBron James' yeomen effort  with a game-high 15 rebounds. They'll also miss Love's 3-point shooting and ability to spread the floor. The Cavs were 7 of 26 from behind the arc (26.9 percent). Love is out for the rest of the postseason after having shoulder surgery.

2. They also will be playing Game 2 without starting shooting guard J.R. Smith. He was suspended for the first two games of the series. He's a 3-point chucker, too, and his prowess is needed. His replacement, Iman Shumpert, was very good in just his second start this season. He had 22 points and was 4 of 10 from behind the arc.

3. I don't get exactly why Coach David Blatt decided to start Mike Miller at power forward. It just didn't make much sense. He was scorched defensively by Mike Dunleavy in the first quarter and didn't play a whole lot thereafter. I'm pretty sure Blatt will try one of his other aging stars in Game 2. His other options are James Jones, Shawn Marion or Tristan Thompson. They've got to be better than what Miller showed tonight. Miller hadn't played meaningful minutes in almost two months.

4. Thompson will still get the bulk of the minutes at power forward. He pulled down eight rebounds in 37 minutes. Bulls guard Derrick Rose might not know his name - he called him "Christian" twice in postgame - but Thompson is a force on the boards.

5. No one thought Shump was going to be a problem. The problem is not having him on the bench. The Cavs managed just nine points off the bench. They were outscored, 19-9, by the Bulls bench. 

6. By the time this series is over, you'll totally dislike Bulls center Joakim Noah. He likes to run his mouth and he doesn't like Cleveland or LeBron James. He had nine rebounds and two blocks, but didn't score in 29 minutes.

7. The Cavaliers had won 22 of their previous 23 games at The Q. Game 2 is a must win. Lose that and the series is just about over.

8. LeBron James (1,053) moved past No. 7 Scottie Pippen (1,048) on the NBA's all-time list for playoff assists. He also needs three 3-pointers to pass No. 9 Jason Kidd (236) in all-time 3-pointers made.

9. Bulls guard Derrick Rose suffered a neck stinger late in the game. He said he'd never had one before. He said his fingers were tingling. He said he doesn't expect it to hamper him for Game 2. 

10. I believe the team that wins this series will advance to the NBA Finals.

UP NEXT: vs. Bulls, Game 2, Eastern Conference semifinals, Quicken Loans Arena, 7 p.m.

SF LeBron James (6-8, 250) vs. Mike Dunleavy (6-9, 230)
PF Mike Miller (6-8, 218) vs. Pau Gasol (7-0, 255)
C Timofey Mozgov (7-1, 250) vs. Joakim Noah (6-11, 232)
SG Iman Shumpert (6-5, 220) vs. Jimmy Butler (6-7, 220)
PG Kyrie Irving (6-3, 193) vs. Derrick Rose (6-3, 190)
Cavs - C Anderson Varejao, F Kevin Love
Bulls - F/C Cameron Bairstow
Ken Mauer, Brian Forte, Ed Malloy


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