2010 NBA Playoffs | Bulls fall 4-1 to Cavaliers

Bulls vs. Cavs

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Game 5: Bulls season ends and questions begin

Cavaliers 96, Bulls 94 (04.27.10) | Sam Smith: LeBron James was waiting for it, the subtle knuckleball of a question coming his way after his Cleveland Cavaliers eliminated the Bulls in five games with a tough 96-94 victory in the opening round playoff series.

James, who held together a shaky Cavs group that was feeling the pressure down the stretch with 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, called Derrick Rose a special talent who now is one of the top two point guards in the NBA. James said he wasn’t offended by anything Joakim Noah said as Noah was able to back up everything with his play on the court.

So wouldn’t Chicago, LeBron, I began, be a nice place for a free...

James, wearing an oversized white sweater with an “LBJ” monogram bigger than Lyndon Johnson’s ranch, stopped me before I could finish.

“So I want to play with them?” James said with a laugh. I kind of figured that was coming.

“Those guys are great,” said James, going on without prompting. “First of all, I’m a fan of the game of basketball before I was a player. It just so happened with the God given abilities I have I was able to be successful in the game and be part of this league. Even when I’m done playing I still love the game. I watch the game every day. I know talent and those are two talented guys. They are going to be really good for this league for years to come..."

Continue reading Sam Smith's game analysis | Box Score | NBA.com Recap
BullsTV: Cavs beat Bulls in Game 5 | Vinny Del Negro postgame | Derrick Rose postgame
Sam Smith at Blogs.Bulls.com: Bulls shooting for three: Three more games
Vinny Del Negro reflects before Game 5
Also: Bulls and Coach Del Negro facing elimination game

Sam Smith of Bulls.com on the first half of Game 5 in Cleveland and the team's future moving forward (04.27.10):

Game 4: Bulls lose, fall one game from end of season

Game 4 Photo Gallery

Cavaliers 121, Bulls 98 (04.25.10) | Sam Smith: The Bulls players and coaches were trying to explain what they thought happened in a 121-98 Cleveland Cavaliers playoff win that gave the Cavs a 3-1 lead in this opening round series, the game that could be the final Bulls home game of the 2009-10 season.

Joakim Noah, who had the first 20/20 playoff game in franchise history with 21 points and 20 rebounds, thought the Bulls gave in mentally when the Cavs put a big blitz on them late in the first half into the third quarter, a 21-6 run over about five minutes that broke open a close game.

“I think we weren’t very tough mentally,” said Noah. “I think we were playing good basketball and all of a sudden it collapsed. When things aren’t going our way we can’t out our heads down. When things weren’t going our way, everyone had their head down. Even myself. I have to do a better job of bringing energy, making sure everyone is on the same page. From players to staff, everyone had heads down. To have a performance like this in this kind of game is disappointing...”

Continue reading Sam Smith's game analysis | Box Score | NBA.com Recap
BullsTV: Cavs beat Bulls in Game 4 | Inside the Locker Room
More video: Vinny Del Negro postgame | Derrick Rose postgame
Sam Smith at Blogs.Bulls.com: Rose to be next Bulls Hall of Famer after Pippen?
Also: Cavs acknowledge defending Rose no easy task
Game 4 looking bigger for both Bulls and Cavs
Blog Squad en Español: Noah o el límite

Sam Smith of Bulls.com on the first half of Game 4 in Chicago and how the Cavaliers compare to the Bulls championship teams of the 1990s (04.25.10):

Game 3: Bulls get Cavs' attention with big win

Game 3 Photo Gallery

Bulls 108, Cavaliers 106 (04.22.10) | Sam Smith: The NBA’s winningest team, the championship favorite with the certain MVP and one of the league’s defensive rocks has needed LeBron James to hit an extraordinary and unexpected number of fourth quarter jump shots in Game 2 for the Cavs not to be trailing the Bulls in this first round playoff series.

Could this be Boston 2009 redux? Is the year old starring series coming back? Can the Bulls take the powerful Cavs to the limit after winning Game 3 in the United Center, 108-106?

“We knew. We believed we can play with them,” said Luol Deng, who had his second straight 20-point game and drew a potentially game changing charging foul on James with just over a minute left. “A lot of people didn’t. A lot of people looked at the game and the team and the stars and were questioning. Now we forget about this game and focus on the next one...”

Continue reading Sam Smith's game analysis | Box Score | NBA.com Recap
More Sam Smith: Bulls are kings for this day in beating Cavs
BullsTV: Bulls beat Cavs in Game 3 | Inside the Locker Room
More video: Joakim Noah postgame | Derrick Rose postgame
Blogs.Bulls.com: Del Negro says Bulls playing with a sense of urgency
Also: Good guys return to wearing black
LeBron is coming, LeBron is coming; is he alone?

Sam Smith of Bulls.com on the first half of Game 3 and whether or not he considers the Cavs to be a great team (04.22.10):

Pippen hopes Bulls will defend their home court

Scottie Pippen: The Bulls really need to get Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday. That would give them some life and confidence. No one is picking them to win this series and they know that. But a win would give them a breath of fresh air and allow them to put some pressure on the Cavs. LeBron will continue to lead Cleveland, but will he hit shots in Chicago like he did in Game 2? He’s one of the top scorers in the league so he’ll get his points, but if the Bulls can keep it close and be in a position to win late in the game, that’s all you can ask for.

Chicago has to come in with the mentality that they have to defend their home court. That’s what it all boils down to. Right now the pressure is on the Bulls, but you can only take it one game at a time. If they get a win in Chicago, maybe that puts a little pressure back on the Cavs. That’s why Game 3 is so important; it’s the pivotal game of the series... continue reading.

Could LeBron be thinking how he looks in Bulls red?

Sam Smith: Based on what LeBron James has seen in the first two games, if his goal is to become a great winner, he cannot possibly think there’s a big window of opportunity with his Cavaliers. But James has to consider what his future would be if he played with a 22-year-old All-Star point guard in Derrick Rose and a 25-year-old near All-Star center in Joakim Noah.

If James wants to be considered the greatest player in the history of the game and surpass Michael Jordan—and I believe he does—then it is about winning championships. At least six of them.

James has a good chance to get his first this season. But if James at 26 envisions a long run, does he have a better chance with 38-year-old Shaquille O’Neal, and by next season 34-year-old Antawn Jamison and 35-year-old Anthony Parker being three of his fellow starters? Or even the likes of Mo Williams and Delonte West? Continue reading...

Game 2: Bulls go down 2-0 to Cavs, but may have a plan

Cavaliers 112, Bulls 102 (04.19.10) | Sam Smith: The Cleveland Cavaliers needed probably the world’s best basketball player having one of his best ever playoff games to beat the eighth-seeded Bulls at home, the 112-102 victory sending the Cavs up 2-0 in this playoff opening series.

So if you are the Bulls you don’t feel great about losing, but you know now you can play with this team and you’ve come up with a game plan to beat them. Now all you have to do is take it back home for Game 3 at the United Center Thursday.

“I think we played real hard tonight,” said Joakim Noah, who led the Bulls with 25 points and 13 rebounds, seven offensive. “They hit some real tough shots down the stretch (15 of LeBron James’ 40 in the last eight minutes). They did not get fazed by our runs. We can’t get discouraged. We’re down 2-0. They did what they were supposed to do.

“They just took care of what they had to,” said Noah. “At home, we’ll have our fans ready for the next game and we’ll be ready to go.”

If the Bulls attack the Cavs as they did in Game 2, running the floor before the defense could set, switching effectively on the inside to ward off penetration, making James work on defense so he couldn’t play free safety and cause turnovers for fast breaks, stay away from the jumpers as Luol Deng was slashing more for 20 points and get a boost from the bench like Flip Murray’s 14, then, perhaps, there’ll be a series here.

Continue reading Sam Smith's game analysis | Box Score | NBA.com Recap
BullsTV: Bulls fall to Cavs in Game 2 | Vinny Del Negro postgame | Joakim Noah postgame
Blogs.Bulls.com: On second thought, Cleveland still not Noah's kind of town
Bulls have a foul taste about Game 1 and want change
Joakim Noah is no great admirer of Kevin Garnett

Sam Smith of Bulls.com on the first half of Game 2 in Cleveland and how the atmosphere will change at the United Center (04.19.10):

Game 1: Cavs take 1-0 series lead in Cleveland

Cavaliers 96, Bulls 83 (04.17.10) | Sam Smith: The first game of a playoff series is something of a feeling out process, getting a sense of what your opponent will do and where you are.

The Bulls, in losing 96-83 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, not only are trailing 1-0 in the series. But it should be obvious—and to no one’s surprise since the Cavs had the best record in the league—the Cavs are a much better team with LeBron James casually scoring 24 points, Mo Williams adding 18, Shaquille O’Neal returning with 12 points and three blocks and Anderson Varejao with 15 rebounds off the bench.

The Cavs took away the Bulls hopes and strength with a 50-38 rebounding edge, matching them in fast break points and holding a 38-14 edge in inside points through the first three quarters before finishing 42-26. “They’re big,“ noticed Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro. “They keep coming at you.”

That’s because the Cavs loaded up for a championship drive after last season’s conference finals loss by adding O’Neal and Antawn Jamison, and they feel it is their time. “We’re confident,” said James, deigning to remove his sun glasses as he spoke to reporters after a long post game break. “Our goal now is to win an NBA championship. We have the look of a champion.”

There was little doubt of that as the Bulls had the look of a team just grateful to be there, satisfied about having closed the season strong with 10 of 14 to vindicate themselves after a 10-game losing streak in March. So you say, maybe it was just nerves as the Bulls fell behind by 22 early in the third quarter before getting it together and getting within seven a few times midway through the fourth quarter.

Continue reading Sam Smith's game analysis | Box Score | NBA.com Recap
BullsTV: Bulls fall to Cavs in Game 1 | Vinny Del Negro postgame | Derrick Rose postgame

Sam Smith of Bulls.com discusses the first half of Bulls vs. Cavs Game 1 -- Parts I & II (04.17.10):


Game 2: Bulls fall to Cavs | Vinny Del Negro postgame | Joakim Noah postgame
Game 1: Bulls fall to Cavs | Vinny Del Negro postgame | Derrick Rose postgame
Chuck Swirsky of BullsTV previews Game 1 in Cleveland
Around the NBA with Sam Smith
Del Negro, Noah and Gibson talk about taking on the Cavs
Supermodel Marisa Miller is Seeing Red at the United Center
Bulls Insider with Sam Smith
Cavaliers vs. Bulls first round preview

More coverage:
Pippen hopes Bulls will defend their home court against LeBron's Cavs (04.21.10)
Could LeBron be thinking how he looks in Bulls red? (04.20.10)
Thoughts on the NBA Playoffs so far (04.19.10)
In search of a first round upset in the NBA Playoffs... (04.17.10)
How the Bulls can beat the Cavs (04.17.10)
Bulls announce launch of See Red playoff campaign (04.16.10)
Bulls ready for LeBron and have some support (04.16.10)
Bulls beat Bobcats; look out Cavs, here they come (04.14.10)

Supermodel Marisa Miller wants you to See Red

It's Rose's Bulls vs. LeBron's Cavs... what do you think?


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