Bulls put tough night in Game 2 behind them as Cavs come to Chicago
CHICAGO – In the first 12 minutes, nothing went right for the Bulls.
In the last 36 only a few things did.
Individually it sums up Joakim Noah’s Wednesday night in Cleveland as well.
The forward missed his only two free throw attempts (Now 1-of-14 in the Playoffs) and scored just four points on the evening. On top of that, he was called out on Twitter by Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones on Twitter.
That was the tweet from the quarterback was in response to an observation made by Cleveland radio host Anthony Lima.
“I didn’t know who he was until this morning,” said Noah when asked about Jones. “But I wish him nothing but the best. I like Urban Meyer, I guess.”
Not much positive came of that trip to Quicken Loans Arena in which they lost by 15 points but were really down by over 20 for most of the contest.
They allowed a franchise-record 38 points in the first quarter and never recovered against the onslaught of Lebron James and the Cavaliers who picked up their first win of the series.
“We dug ourselves a huge hole,” said Thibodeau of the game. “We had maybe one shot to get out of it in the second half, we got it down to 11 with about four to go in the third quarter and then we had two plays in which we came up empty that maybe if we had scored there we would have had a shot at it.”
But the good news for the Bulls is that they are still in the running of this Best-of-Seven series with the favored Cavaliers. As many believed would need to happen for a Chicago victory in the series, the Bulls split the opening games in Cleveland and could take a 3-1 lead if they can hold serve on Friday and Sunday.
"It's 1-1 and we're excited for a Game 3 at home," said Noah after the team's practice at the Advocate Center on Thursday afternoon.
So far the Bulls are 2-1 in the playoffs at home having won the first two against Milwaukee in the first round before losing Game 5. Even with the crowd behind the team the key will be the intensity they can draw from them and more importantly themselves to start out.
The porous start led to the Bulls being outrebounded 45-37 and by three on the offensive glass.
"We're gonna have to play a lot tougher," said Thibodeau of team's need for improvement following Game 2. "The second quarter was better, the third quarter was better but obviously we dug such a big hole we didn't give ourselves a chance."
Doing so again isn't such a good idea against James, who has been in this situation twice before against the Bulls. In the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals his Heat lost Game 1 to Chicago only to win the next four-including a pair of victories at the United Center.
The Bulls stole Game 1 of the East Semis in 2013 against James and the Heat only to lose four-straight yet again. Dating back to 2010-his last second in his first stint with Cleveland-James is 10-0 after a loss to the Bulls in the playoffs.
So a bad start, like on Wednesday night, can't happen again.
"They beat us in every important category," said Noah. "It's important for us to switch it up."
He would be the first to want to do that.