After the Cleveland Cavaliers lost Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Chicago Bulls, LeBron James, voiced how he has to adjust to playing without the injured Kevin Love, who dislocated his shoulder in Game 4 of their first round series against the Boston Celtics.
“I think I may have to change my mindset a little bit obviously with [Love] being out,” James said post-game, according to ESPN.com. “It’s something we all haven’t been accustomed to this year with him being out for an extensive period or another of the Big Three being out for a long period of time since I had my injuries.”
And in Game 2, James changed his mindset for the better, by simply attacking and finishing more often. After posting 19 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists, on 9-of-22 shooting, a near triple-double that James labeled as “unacceptable” in a Game 1 loss, 99-92, James shot 13-of-29 from the field for 33 points, leading the Cavs to a 106-91 win, tying the series at one-apiece.
The Cavs are undermanned right now, adding Iman Shumpert to the injured list who left the third quarter with a strained left groin that could be serious. But to the Cavs’ benefit, J.R. Smith, who has served his two-game suspension for this series, due to a poor choice of actions in Game 4 of the Celtics series, will return for Game 3 and the remainder of the round. With the injuries the Cavs are battling, forcing James to assert himself more coupled with a rejuvenated Bulls squad, led by a surprisingly healthy Derrick Rose, there is no better time to dive into this series than right now.
Due to the high demand of this game, Bulls tickets in the United Center for Game 3 Friday night are averaging a relatively high $366.02, with a get-in price of $88. Chicago parking at ParkWhiz.com is also available to make things easier for those in attendance.
Coming to the United Center could provide extra fuel for the Bulls, especially star point guard Derrick Rose, who has been a little off from his normal output. He also hasn’t been able to get to the free-throw line, as Rose has not shot or attempted a free-throw since Game 6 of the Milwaukee Bucks series, which has certainly affected his scoring.
In the Game 2 loss, Rose scored 14 points, shooting 6-of-20 from the field, and with no trips to the charity stripe, this prompted head coach Tom Thibodeau to chime in on the no-calls. “I guess he’s got to go harder, I don’t know,” said Thibs after the game. “It looked like there was a lot of contact to me. Others didn’t see it that way.”
Cavaliers fans, who have been waiting for this since LeBron originally left the team in the summer of 2010, are undoubtedly amped for the rest of this series, and Cavaliers tickets have been going in bunches as a result, even for their upcoming road contests in Chicago.
Of course, the Bulls will be seeking to protect their home-court advantage, and these next two games will be pivotal in who advances to the Eastern Conference Finals.