Game 5: Bulls at Cavs
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (3-2) 106, CHICAGO BULLS (2-3) 101
Quicken Loans Arena
Radio: WTAM-AM 1100, WMMS-FM 100.7, La Mega-FM 97.7
1. The Cavs have control of the series - by their fingertips - but control nonetheless. They should go all out to put the Bulls out of their misery in Game 6 on Thursday. You don't want to take a chance on Game 7, even if it is at home on Sunday. The sold-out crowd was fantastic tonight. It had to fire up the players. The Bulls are going to fight to the end in this series. That's just their nature. It comes from Coach Tom Thibodeau. He demands it.
2. LeBron James came into the game shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 10.5 percent from behind the arc in the Chicago series. He was classic LeBron tonight with 38 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks. He also made 12 of 24 from the field. He raised his percentage from the 3-point line by making 1 of 5. He's now at 12.5 percent from behind the arc.
3. Kyrie Irving was inspirational with his performance. He was gimping around the last few games with tendinitis in his left knee and a strained right foot. He responded with 25 points and five assists. He made 9 of 16 from the field, 3 of 6 from behind the arc. He said he felt much better when he awoke on Tuesday. If he returns to form, the Bulls are in serious trouble.
4. James is almost averaging a triple-double in the series: 28.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, 8.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.6 blocks. The number that bothers him - besides the shooting percentages - was his 5.8 turnovers per game. That was an astonishing number, especially when the Cavs are averaging 11.5 turnovers as a team. He didn't have a turnover in Game 5 in 41 minutes. He was proud of that fact, literally patting himself on the back after the game. He was simply the best player in basketball last night - bar none.
5. He passed No. 9 Jason Kidd (236) on the NBA's all-time playoff list for 3-pointers. He now has 237. He also is one shy of No. 5 Tim Duncan (1,202) in all-time playoff free throws. He moved into a tie with No. 2 Zydrunas Ilgauskas (82) for postseason blocked shots in Cavs' history.
6. James is the third player in NBA history to record 38 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and three blocks. The others were Dwyane Wade at Dallas on June 20, 2006, and Elvin Hayes vs. Buffalo on April 20, 1975. He's the first player in history to record those numbers and not turn the ball over. The league started recording turnovers for the 1977-78 season.
7. The team that has won the rebounding battle has won every game in this series. The Cavs won the battle of the boards on Tuesday, 41-40. The Bulls were missing 7-footer Pau Gasol (hamstring) and Taj Gibson (ejection).
8. The Cavs won despite a terrible game by center Timofey Mozgov (one point, six rebounds, 0 of 7 from the field). They need him to show up. He was very good in Game 4 (15 points, nine rebounds, three assists and three blocks). They are a different team when he does play well. When he doesn't, Coach David Blatt goes small and lives with the circumstances. He's averaging 2.4 blocks in the postseason, third-best in the league. He has swatted at least three shots in five of his nine postseason games this year.
UP NEXT: Game 6, at Chicago, Eastern Conference semifinals, United, Thursday, May 14, 8 p.m.
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 Iman Shumpert (6-5, 220) vs. Jimmy Butler (6-7, 220)
Bulls - F/C Pau Gasol