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Tag Archives: Chicago Bulls
Here’s what I came up with after looking into my crystal basketball for the 2015-16 NBA season.
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (56-26)
2. Chicago Bulls
3. Miami Heat
4. Washington Wizards
5. Toronto Raptors
6. Atlanta Hawks
7. Milwaukee Bucks
8. Boston Celtics
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS:
1. Golden State Warriors (58-24)
2. San Antonio Spurs
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Houston Rockets
5. Los Angeles Clippers
6. Memphis Grizzlies
7. New Orleans Pelicans
8. Utah Jazz
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
Cleveland Cavaliers over Chicago Bulls
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS:
San Antonio Spurs over Golden State Warriors
Cleveland Cavaliers over San Antonio Spurs
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
Jahlil Okafor – Philadelphia 76ers
NBA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers
ALL NBA 1ST TEAM:
Steph Curry – Golden State Warriors
James Harden – Houston Rockets
Kevin Durant – Oklahoma City Thunder
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
ALL NBA 2ND TEAM: Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins and Marc Gasol
CAVALIERS TO TIP OFF THE 2015-16 SEASON
ON THE ROAD AGAINST THE CHICAGO BULLS
SCHEDULE FEATURES 14 HOME WEEKEND DATES, 34 NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAMES, INCLUDING CHRISTMAS DAY CONTEST AND A SPECIAL MLK DAY GAME
CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Cavaliers will open the 2015-16 campaign, presented by Discount Drug Mart, on Tuesday, Oct. 27 on the road against the Chicago Bulls in a nationally televised game on TNT. It marks the first time the Cavs will kick off the season on the road since 2008-09. Cleveland’s home opener at Quicken Loans Arena will take place on Friday, Oct. 30 against the Miami Heat on ESPN. They will play 14 weekend home dates comprised of four Friday games, seven Saturday games and three Sunday games. The Cavaliers are slated to appear on at least 34 national television broadcasts:
The complete 2015-16 Cavaliers schedule can be found at cavs.com/schedule.
- 10 games on ESPN (Oct. 30 vs. Miami, Nov. 4 vs. New York, Dec. 4 at New Orleans, Jan. 8 at Minnesota, Jan. 15 at Houston, Feb. 10 vs. L.A. Lakers, March 4 vs. Washington, March 23 vs. Milwaukee, April 1 at Atlanta and April 6 at Indiana).
- 9 games on TNT (Oct. 27 at Chicago, Nov. 19 vs. Milwaukee, Dec. 17 vs. Oklahoma City, Jan. 14 at San Antonio, Jan. 18 vs. Golden State, Jan. 21 vs. L.A. Clippers, Feb. 18 vs. Chicago, March 10 at L.A. Lakers and March 29 vs. Houston)
- 6 games on ABC (Dec. 25 at Golden State, Jan. 23 vs. Chicago, Jan. 30 vs. San Antonio, Feb. 21 at Oklahoma City, March 13 at L.A. Clippers and April 9 at Chicago).
- 9 games on NBA TV (Nov. 13 at New York, Dec. 1 vs. Washington, Dec. 5 at Miami, Dec. 8 vs. Portland, Dec. 23 vs. New York, Jan. 25 vs. Minnesota, Feb. 29 vs. Indiana, March 7 vs. Memphis and April 11 vs. Atlanta).
In addition, the Cavaliers will have nine games aired nationally on ESPN Radio (Dec. 25 vs. Golden State, Jan. 14 at San Antonio, Jan. 18 vs. Golden State, Jan. 23 vs. Chicago, Jan. 30 vs. San Antonio, Feb. 21 at Oklahoma City, March 13 at L.A. Clippers, March 29 vs. Houston and April 9 at Chicago).
For the 12th time in franchise history, theCavaliers will play on Christmas Day as they go on the road to square off against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors. OnMonday, Jan. 18, the Warriors will visit The Q for a special Martin Luther King, Jr. Day game. The regular season will conclude at The Q on Wednesday, April 13 when the Detroit Pistons come to town.
Marquee opponents coming to Cleveland only once this season include the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, Dec. 17; the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, Jan. 21; the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, Jan. 30; the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, March 7; and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, March 29.
This season’s 82-game schedule again consists of 41 home and 41 road games. Each Eastern Conference opponent will match up against Cleveland four times with the exception of Toronto (one home, two road), Miami (one home, two road), Boston (two home, one road) and Atlanta (two home, one road). Each Western Conference opponent will play the Cavaliers twice, once at The Q and once on the road.
All Cavs games will again be broadcast on the Cavaliers flagship radio station WTAM 1100 AM, La Mega 87.7 FM (Spanish) and across the Cavaliers Radio Network. Details regarding the Cavs local television schedule on FOX Sports Ohio will be announced at a later date.
Other ‘stats’ on Cleveland’s 2015-16 schedule include:
- 19 sets of back-to-back games, including two home-home sets, two home-road sets, five road-home sets and 10 road-road sets.
- Three matinee games at home this season, which include Nov. 8 vs. Indiana (3:30 p.m.), Dec. 20 vs. Philadelphia (3:30 p.m.) and April 3 vs. Charlotte (3:30 p.m.).
- Five consecutive home games from Feb. 5-Feb. 18 highlighted by visits from the Los Angeles Lakers on Feb. 10 just before the All-Star break and Chicago Bulls on Feb. 18.
- The Cavs also have a pair of four-game home stands from Nov. 4-10 and Feb. 29-March 7.
- Their longest road trip, spanning six games from Jan. 6-15, is highlighted by a back-to-back set with the San Antonio Spurs (Jan. 14) and Houston Rockets (Jan. 15).
- Eight times the Cavs have two consecutive road games, twice they have three road games in a row, two times with four consecutive road contests and one six-game road trip.
- One occasion of four games in five nights from Dec. 25-29.
- From Jan. 18-Feb. 18, the Cavs will play 11 of 15 games at The Q.
- Cleveland will play 10 of 12 games on the road from Dec. 25-Jan. 15, as well as eight of 11 games on the road from March 9-March 26.
2015-16 CAVALIERS PRESEASON SCHEDULE
Wednesday, October 7 – vs. Atlanta at 7:00 p.m. at Cintas Center (Xavier University)*
Thursday, October 8 – @ Philadelphia at 7:00 p.m.
Monday, October 12 – vs. Memphis at 7:00 p.m. at Schottenstein Center (Ohio State)*
Tuesday, October 13 – vs. Milwaukee at 7:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena
Thursday, October 15 – vs. Indiana at 7:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena
Sunday, October 18 – @ Toronto at 6:00 p.m.
Monday, October 19 – vs. Dallas at 7:00 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena
*Denotes Cavs home game at neutral site.
LEBRON 30 FOR 30 – With how hampered this team is with injuries, and even though LeBron James is playing with a sore left ankle, “The King” needs to find a way to get the Cavaliers about 30 points per game even if it means taking 30 shots per game over the next two or three games in order for the Cavs to win this series against the Bulls and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
DON’T FALL BLATT ON YOUR FACE – Tyronn Lue and LeBron James bailed out the Cavaliers first year head coach in Game #4. Lue with a better tackle than most Browns players made last year on Blatt so he wouldn’t get a technical for calling a time out he didn’t have, and James for telling Blatt to stick his original out of bounds play call where the sun don’t shine and demanding the ball and then delivering the game winning shot. In my opinion, Blatt has failed miserably in Games #1 and #4 in this series and the Cavs are lucky to be tied 2-2 with the Bulls. He has to do a better job of managing the game with time outs, player substitutions, play calls and having a feel for the game. He has to flat out coach better and not have a relapse of what happened in Games #1 and #4.
FIND A SECOND SCORING OPTION – With Kevin Love out for the playoffs and while Kyrie Irving is playing, he’s suffering from two big time injuries that have limited him, so the Cavs need someone to step up and be that #2 scorer. For three games it was Iman Shumpert who filled the void, averaging over 18 points per game, but he ended up suffering an injury in this series and is also playing hurt and it has affected his ability to score. So now it’s time for either J.R. Smith or Timofey Mozgov to rise to the occasion and become the second offensive weapon the Cavaliers need in the remaining two or three games is series.
GET TO THE FREE THROW LINE – Cleveland is struggling on offense right now, so the Cavs have to be the aggressor, attack the rim, and force the officials, as horrible as they’ve been, to have to make a call. This way you get a chance at two uncontested shots to put points on the board. Also the more aggressive you are, the better chance you have of getting into the bonus early and that could be a major plus, since as a team the Cavaliers are shooting 86% from the charity stripe in this series so far.
BOARD DOMINATION – This one is real simple. Led by LeBron, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov and whoever else, the Cavaliers must dominate the boards and win the offensive and defensive rebounding battle the rest of this series. They must limit the Bulls second chance opportunities and create as many second chance opportunities for themselves to score easy buckets.
VALUE THE BALL – While the entire team must focus on this stat, it is imperative that LeBron James take it to heart and cut his turnovers per game in this series in half. LBJ is averaging nearly 6 turnovers per contest against the Bulls. That number has to come down to 3 or maybe 4 at the most. James needs to protect the ball better when Jimmy Butler is up on him defensively and not make so many lazy passes.
DEFENSE – Another simple one, but it is “Mucho Importante”! With how bad the Cavs offense has been, the reason they are tied 2-2 in this series with the Bulls is because of their defense. The Bulls are not a good shooting team and the more pressure you apply on the defensive end, the worse they become at trying to put the ball in the basket. So ratchet up your defense in Games # 5,# 6 and if necessary Game #7, and you’re your chances of winning that game, and the series increase dramatically.
SHOT SELECTION – The Cavs are shooting far too many 3’s in this series. I know all season they have been a team that feasts on the 3-pointer, but against a good defensive team like the Bulls who are trying to take away that shot, or at least challenge every one of them, you might want to try and dial it back a bit. The Cavs are shooting 28 treys a game, but only making 34% of them and LeBron’s percentage is at a season low 10% from 3-point country. Attack the basket more and get fouled, and to my earlier point, take advantage of scoring points at the free throw line where you are shooting 86% as a team and LeBron is hitting 85% of his freebies.
Cleveland’s “Batman and Robin”, Lebron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 54 points in the Cavs 106-91 Game #2 win over the Bulls to even their best of 7 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series at one game apiece. Listen to what LeBron had to say about the return of his headband, Kyrie on Kevin Love being back with the team and more.
Listen Here –
ATTACK MODE FOR LEBRON JAMES – The King must not settle for jump shots, he must attack the basket and get to the free-throw line. He’s only shooting 17% from three point country this postseason, but he’s shooting 53% from inside the arc. Don’t settle, attack and shoot a minimum of 8 free throws every game the rest of the playoffs.
IT’S NOT MILLER TIME – Start James Jones, Tristan Thompson or even Shawn Marion and bring Mike Miller off the bench against the Bulls backups. Also give Kendrick Perkins some minutes as the backup center in this contest and let him throw his weight around against Joakim Noah.
HACK A NOAH – Speaking of Noah. Other teams use this strategy to their advantage so why not the Cavs? Joakim Noah is 1 for 12 from the free-throw line this postseason. Why not use that to your advantage, foul him and make him go to the free-throw line and try and score two points on two separate shots. Odds say he won’t do that.
5 GUYS ON A STRING – Communicate and figure out how to play the Bulls Pick n Roll and the Pick n Pop as a team vs Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol. The defense has to challenge those two, as well as every shot taken by Chicago’s perimeter shooters. The Cavs defense was horrific in Game #1 allowing the Bulls to shoot 50% from the field and 55% from the 3-point line, while only creating 10 turnovers against a team who came in to the series averaging over 17 turnovers a game in the postseason.
OFFENSIVE IMAN – Iman Shumpert, like he did against Boston with 15 points and in Game #1 against Chicago with 22 points, Shump must continue to score and be that third wheel to provide some offense along with LeBron and Kyrie.
BLATT BETTER COACH BETTER – Cavs had coach David Blatt needs to make better in game decisions and adjustments. He needs to call timeouts quicker and match up better with Chicago’s personnel. He was one of the main reasons the Cavaliers lost Game #1.
PICK UP THE PACE – The Cavs only scored two fast-break points in Game #1. The Cavaliers must pick up the tempo and push the ball to get easy baskets so Chicago can’t set up its half-court defense. Remember Chicago is 29-1 when they hold opponents to 92 points or less. Pick up the pace; score more than 92 points and you increase your chance of winning greatly.
PROTECT AND REBOUND – LeBron James must take better care of the basketball and the team must continue to value the basketball. Also the Cavaliers don’t necessarily need to dominate the boards but at least be even with Chicago in the rebounding category going against their BIGS with Kevin Love gone for the rest of the playoffs.
After watching the game live at The Q and then going home and watching it a second time on TV (I love my DVR) here’s what jumped out at me from the Cavs 99-92 loss to the Bulls in Game #1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
THOUGHT: I was surprised to see Mike Miller in the starting line up yesterday. I thought for sure it would be James Jones getting the start because he’s a little more athletic and plays slightly better defense. It turned out to be a horrible decision by David Blatt to start Miller as the man he guarded Mike Dunleavy went off in the first quarter scoring 13 points on 5 of 5 shooting. Miller did not score in the first stanza.
ADJUSTMENT: I would start James Jones in Game #2 and try him on Dunleavy. If that doesn’t work then switch and put Jones on Joakim Noah who is not as mobile, nor is he an outside threat that you’d have to chase all over the floor.
THOUGHT: Why did David Blatt have one of your best defenders in LeBron James guarding one of the Bulls worst offensive players in Joakim Noah? As I told Josh Weir, Cavs beat reporter from the Canton Repository yesterday before the game on my radio show, if LeBron is going to guard a “BIG” it should be Pau Gasol because he’s more mobile and prefers to step out and shoot the jumper. It also allows Timofey Mozgov to stay close to the basket to protect the rim and be in position to grab rebounds if he is guarding Noah instead. Sure enough Gasol killed the Cavs on the “Pick-n-Pop” to the tune of 21 points, his most points against eh Cavaliers this season. According to the Cavs players postgame, the game plan was to leave Gasol alone for the shots. WHAT?
ADJUSTMENT: Anyone who knows anything about Pau Gasol knows that his bread and butter, his favorite thing to do is “Pick-n-Pop” for that top of the key jumper or that wing jumper and the Cavs elected to give him that shot as part of their game plan? What the hell was David Blatt and his staff thinking? In Game #2, as I suggested before Game #1, if LeBron is going to guard a “BIG” put him on Gasol to take him out of his comfort zone and make him work for his shots. Don’t waste LeBron on Noah who’s got a bad knee and is their worst offensive player. This also allows Mozgov to clog the middle and challenge some of those drives that Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler got in Game #1.
THOUGHT: Twice in Game #1 I thought David Blatt waited too long to take a time out. I marked in my game notes at 8:26 of the first quarter the Cavs were down 8-2 and Blatt waited another possession and basket by the Bulls to take a TO. Then again after the Cavs had tied the game twice at 51-51 and 53-53 and had a chance to take the lead both times and failed, the Bulls went on a 10-0 run before Blatt called a time out. He should have done so after LeBron had a terrible stretch of settling for jumpers and turning it over. I would have called the TO when the Bulls took a 58-53 lead, instead Blatt waited until it was 63-53.
ADJUSTEMNT: David Blatt must realize that he is shorthanded as far as talent goes and needs to keep that in mind when he’s thinking his team will play out of a bad stretch and the Bulls are picking up momentum. He has to sense when that is and take a time out sooner rather than later.
THOUGHT: I tweeted out in the third quarter that LeBron James was settling for jump shots and wasn’t attacking the basket enough. He had just settled for, and missed 4 consecutive long jumpers and had a poor turnover because he wasn’t going to the basket. During this stretch the Cavaliers went from being tied 51-51 to trailing 70-55. He has to play more “BIG BOY BALL”!
ADJUSTMENT: LeBron can overpower any player on the Bulls roster and he can take anyone of them to the basket or post them up when he wants to. So he needs to do more of that, especially when the game is close or there’s a need to stop momentum that the Bulls may be gaining. Credit to James after the game during his press conference for admitting that even though he came close to a triple/double (19pts-15reb-9ast), that he did not play well in Game #1.
THOUGHT: Just like in the Boston series in three of the four games the Cavaliers had a horrible start. They fell behind 13-2, 18-5 and 25-11 in the first quarter of Game #1. I know there was a line up change and they’re missing two starters, but they have to at least keep it even until they get in the flow or make the changes necessary to get it going.
ADJUSTMENT: First off start James Jones or Tristan Thompson over mike Miller. Then one of the “Dynamic Duo” of LeBron and Kyrie have to be ultra-aggressive and take it upon themselves to get buckets or set their teammates up for easy buckets by being in attack mode and going to the basket and in a worst case scenario, at least get fouled and score at the line. James and Irving were a combined 3-10fg and only 1-1ft in the first quarter in Game #1 and that led to a season low first quarter total of just 15 points.
THOUGHT: I figured the Cavs would struggle somewhat offensively in Game #1 and they did only shooting 42% from the field and a dismal 26% from 3-point country, but I expected their defense to play much better. While they missed J.R. Smith’s offense in the game, they really missed his length and athleticism on defense guarding the perimeter.
ADJUSTMENT: Again I go back to taking LeBron off Joakim Noah and having him guard their perimeter players more. Also in spurts, matching up offense for defense play Shawn Marion and/or James Jones to be longer and take away those outside shots that the bulls want to take. Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor pointed out to me that the Bulls are one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the playoffs this year, so you’ve got to find a way to limit that until J.R. returns.
THOUGHT: The Cavs scored a total of two fast break points in the game, 2! That can’t happen against a Bulls team that is known for the half-court defense. You can’t let the Bulls set up on defense every time down the floor. The Cavaliers have to find a way to get some easy baskets in this series off the break.
ADJUSTMENT: Because Kevin Love is out and you need to send everybody to the boards to rebound, the Cavaliers need to play better defense to get some deflections and steals which will lead to some easy fast-break opportunities. Also, LeBron and Kyrie need to push the tempo, pick up the pace more whether it’s off rebounds, steals or even a made basket to try and score early on the Bulls before they can get set on defense.
LeBron James offensively had one good quarter in Game #1, the second quarter. In the second, he was 4-7fg for 8 points and 2 assists. The rest of the game he was 5-15fg for 11 points. In this ongoing chess match between Tom Thibodeau and LeBron, the Bulls head coach won game #1. Now it’s up to LBJ to counter in Game #2. LeBron scored only 19 points in Game #1 and his teams are now just (7-14) in playoff games when he scores fewer than 20 points in a game.
Derrick Rose scored 25 points in Game #1 and at times looked very good. But he was also the beneficiary of a couple of lucky shots that went in from long range to beat the shot clock buzzer. He also needed 26 shots to score those 25 points. Let’s see how D-Rose does coming back from only one days rest and after suffering a stinger to his shoulder late in the fourth quarter. Check out these numbers on Derrick Rose: on two days rest between games in the postseason so far Rose is averaging 24ppg and shooting 48% from the field and 48% from 3-point country. On only one days rest between games in the postseason this year Rose is averaging only 14ppg and is shooting 29% from the field and just 23% from beyond the arc. Game #2 happens on only one days rest.
The Bulls magic number is 92. Chicago this season is 29-1 when they hold their opponent to 92 points or less in a game.
According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, David Blatt and the Cavs, prior to yesterday’s game, had never started the lineup of Irving, Miller, James, Shumpert and Mozgov before Game #1.
The Bulls were averaging 17.5 turnovers a game in the postseason going into yesterday’s Game #1 versus the Cavs. They turned it over just 10 times, a postseason low against the Cavaliers in Game #1 while also shooting 50% from the field and 55% from 3-point country. One of their more efficient offensive games in the playoffs so far.