The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
By Sam Smith | 5.08.2015 | 9:43 p.m. CT
Derrick Rose banked in a three pointer at the buzzer to give the Bulls one of their most dramatic playoff victories ever, 99-96 over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The “shot” gave the Bulls a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal with Game 4 in the United Center Sunday. Rose led the Bulls with 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Jimmy Butler added 20 points. LeBron James had 27 points for the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers had tied the game on a J.R. Smith three pointer with 10 seconds left. James then knocked the ball away from Rose with three seconds left. Mike Dunleavy inbounded to Rose who went cross court and fell back for the unlikely winner. The Bulls got off to the fast, if not efficient, start they’d talked about, pressuring up on defense, stunting against the pick and roll and pushing the ball for an 11-7 start midway through the first. But the Bulls could not get shots to drop as the Cavs with James orchestrating began to swing the ball for the three pointer as the Cavs took a 24-18 first quarter lead. The Bulls shot just 26.9 percent. The Cavs hunted out the three ball in the second quarter, taking a 35-28 lead. But the Bulls battled back behind Mike Dunleavy shooting to pull within 49-47 at halftime. It was a big third quarter for Rose as he attacked the basket with aggression, twisting and turning and getting to the free throw line as well. The Bulls eased ahead, fell behind on Cavs threes and then took a 74-73 lead into the fourth quarter with Rose driving and kicking and Dunleavy closing with a three to match Rose with 16 points through three quarters. Observations: 1. Derrick Rose was attacking and at his most disruptive to the Cavs defense, especially after halftime as he was weaving in and out against Cavs defenders and passing as well to rival the play of LeBron James in an appealing shootout for the stars. 2. This was by far the most intensity contested game of the series with the Bulls aggressive and pressuring more on defense, though perhaps costing them their shooting legs with sub-30 percent shooting through a low scoring first half. 3. Though still without much offensive touch, Joakim Noah was more energetic and enthusiastic from the start with dominance on the offensive boards. Noah had 10 rebounds, six offensive by halftime.