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By Sam Smith | 5.14.2015 | 9:24 p.m.
The Bulls closed out their 2014-15 season Thursday with a discouraging 94-73 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cleveland victory gave them a 4-2 series victory in the conference semifinal series. The Cavs will play the winner of the Atlanta/Washington series. The Bulls were led by Jimmy Butler with 20 points and Derrick Rose with 14, the only two Bulls players in double figure scoring. The Cavs were led by reserve Matthew Dellavedova with 19 points. LeBron James had 15 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds. The Bulls were pounded on the boards The Bulls started well, pushing the ball and getting better shots according to the game plan. Pau Gasol scored eight points in seven minutes in his return from his hamstring injury and the Bulls opened ahead 12-6. The Cavs did lead 33-31 after one, though the Bulls shot 56.5 percent. Kyrie Irving appeared to injure his knee early in the second quarter, but the Cavs broke away with a 20-4 run in the last six minutes of the second quarter after a flagrant foul by Nikola Mirotic on Iman Shumpert, the Cavs taking a 58-44 halftime lead. Both teams went cold to start the second half with the teams combining to shoot three for 23 in the first five minutes. James then hit a pair of jumpers, but Butler responded with 10 points in the last four minutes to bring the Bulls within 73-60 going into the fourth quarter. The Cavs then put the Bulls away for the season with an 11-2 run to open the fourth quarter behind the shooting of Matthew Dellavedova.
Observations: 1. The crucial sequence in the first half when the Cavs spurted ahead came with a flagrant foul by Nikola Mirotic on Iman Shumpert with the Cavs leading 41-40. Shumpert followed the free throws with a pair of jumpers against Mirotic, shouting at him afterward that began that 17-2 run. 2. Taj Gibson drew three fouls in three first quarter minutes, basically taking him out of the game for the rest of the half as Tristan Thompson went on to 10 first half points. 3. Another tough game for the Bulls reserves with the Cavs’ Dellavedova, who started the second half for the injured Kyrie Irving, leading the entire Bulls bench in scoring until the last seconds.