James and Co. hardly sweating Bulls

April, 17, 2010
4/17/10
8:35
PM CT
Isaacson By Melissa Isaacson
ESPNChicago.com
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The thing about one-sided matchups like the first-round of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Chicago Bulls playoff series is that they can deceive. For it was when the Bulls looked their best Saturday that their chances looked the worst.

Cleveland ended up winning, 96-83, but the score was immaterial. The Cavs maintained a lead that hovered around 16 in the second quarter, then built it to 22 in the third before becoming bored long enough for a seven-minute scoring draught to allow the Bulls to climb to within double-digits in the fourth.

The Bulls will tell themselves that if they can just shore up their poor shooting, improve their offensive rebounding and maybe jack up their intensity, they can be right back in this series.

But they will be wrong.

Even as a Brad Miller jumper cut the lead to seven with five and a half minutes remaining in regulation, there was never the sense that the Cavs were not in control. And indeed, the Bulls never got closer. A combination of missed shots and turnovers along with Antawn Jamison flexing his muscles on the boards and a gut-slashing drive by LeBron James past Derrick Rose dismissed any notion of a "shock-the-world" scenario brewing.

Read the full story.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jimmy Butler
PTS AST STL MIN
20.5 3.2 1.8 39.8
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsP. Gasol 12.0
AssistsD. Rose 4.9
StealsJ. Butler 1.8
BlocksP. Gasol 2.2