CHICAGO – Let’s face it, the main focus of some of those watching the game at the United Center, whether on television or in person, might very well have been on something that happens this Spring and Summer.
That’s had to think about as sub-zero temperatures and snow descend on the Chicago area, but when the Bulls and Cavaliers play in the 2018-2019 season, that’s where the focus remains.
Both teams are near the bottom of the league, and will figure prominently in the race for the worst record, which will give them a shot at the first overall pick. That likely will be Zion Williamson, the everything forward from Duke who is a regular on highlight reels for his memorable plays with the Blue Devils.
So in many ways, the scoreboard was a bit of a victory for the Bulls on Sunday.
Cavaliers 104 Bulls 101.
It’s a complete reversal of the host’s dominating performance six days ago in Cleveland, when they beat the Cavaliers by 16 points. It also gets the Bulls within a game-and-a-half of the worst record in the league, again, with a shot at the top lottery pick, and Williamson. Jim Boylen’s group has now lost three games in a row and falls to 1-12 in 2019 and to 11-39 overall, continuing their free fall of a 2018-2019 season.
This wasn’t for lack of trying. The ending was thrilling.
Wayne Selden Jr, inserted into the starting lineup for the first time with the team, gave the Bulls lead with just over a minute left with a three-pointer to add to his 15 on the game. Cleveland responded when Alec Burks caught a blocked shot by Robin Lopez and put in the final two of his 18 points on the game, putting them up by one.
After two free throws by Matthew Dellavedova to put Cleveland up by three, Zach LaVine got the shot to be the hero, but his three-pointer missed as time expired. For the first time this season, the Cavaliers beat the Bulls, and neither will face each other until next season.
What will each team look like then? Only one can imagine or maybe dream. Certainly, the hope is that a very talented rookie out of Duke will be on the roster, but only time, some losses and a little luck will determine that. That’s why the Bulls loss on Sunday could easily be interpreted as a win by many.