The Bulls Roundup is something new we are trying here at Midway Madness. The Roundup is a free-flowing conversation between feature writers Kyle Roche and Eric Burgher about the Bulls playoffs chances. Highlighting matchups and performance, Eric and Kyle will discuss the Bulls as the series unfolds. A new Roundup will be featured on the off day of each Bulls game.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won game five Tuesday 106-100. LeBron James finished the night with 37 points. Taj Gibson was eliminated in the fourth quarter after an altercation with Mathew Dellavedova. Game six is back at the United Center on Thursday.
Player of the Game.
Kyle Roche: Michael Jordan. Oh, um, I mean LeBron James. LeBron put on a Jordan-esk performance. Scoring looked so natural for LeBron and he did it in so many ways. Post ups, pull ups, fast breaks, everything. LeBron was just dominate in every facet of the game. It was an absolute joy to watch, as a basketball game.
Eric Burgher: Oh no you did NOT just compare LeBron to Jordan! That was painful to watch. It must have been what Knicks fans felt like in the 90’s. I’m starting to think that’s us right now, a very good team that will never get out of the East because we can’t beat the best player. Bottom line is, the Bulls lost this series in the 4th quarter of Game 4. Here’s my question for you – if Gasol were healthy, are we sitting here awaiting the Bulls’ opponent for the East finals?
KR: To answer your question, Eric, I don’t think the Bulls will be waiting to see who they were playing next, but I think they would be in control. The Cavs have struggled to figure out how to play Gasol, either off the pick-and-roll or on the post. If Gasol never sat out in this series I truly believe the Bulls would have taken either game four or five. The way LeBron played last game it is hard to think he wouldn’t have played like that with his back against the wall. I want to see what you think could have happened if Thibs chose to start Mirotic instead of Gibson. I think Gibson plays a lot better off the bench and he can exploit his matchup when he is rested and sees how the game is unfolding.
ER: I know you love Mirotic and I do too, but he has really struggled in the playoffs and particularly in this series, shooting 28% from the field and getting beaten on the boards by the more physical Cavs front line. They really need Gasol back, even if he isn’t anywhere near full strength. We’ve seen what Kyrie Irving has done playing at 40% and it makes a huge difference having him out there. I had being a skeptic, especially when it comes to our beloved Bulls, but is there anyway LeBron loses two games in a row?
KR: I think the odds are LeBron doesn’t lose two game in a row, especially after putting on a performance like he did in game five. But Gasol coming back I think changes a lot. This entire series has been a lot of LeBron isolations and I think the Bulls coming at him, on offense, at different angles could mess him up. Gasol is going to be limited, for sure, but that could help the Bulls. On defense they can have him against Mozgov and let him roam the paint to protect the rim and on offense just play pick and pop to pull his defender out of the paint. Do you think a quick rotation of Gibson, Gasol, Noah and Mirotic will be better than one player logging a lot of minutes?