After having LeBron James’ homecoming spoiled by Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks on Thursday, the Cleveland Cavaliers bounced back brilliantly on Friday, defeating the Chicago Bulls 114-108 in an overtime thriller.
James, who struggled mightily against the Knicks, finished with 36 points (14-30 FG,) 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. James completely took over the game in the extra session, scoring Cleveland’s first 8 points in overtime.
Kyrie Irving finished with 23 points (6-17 FG,) 3 assists and 1 rebound, and Kevin Love chipped in with 16 points (5-17 FG,) 16 rebounds and 4 steals.
The Cavaliers did an excellent job of taking care of the ball, only turning it over nine times, ten less turnovers than they had on Thursday night.
Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson was the unsung hero for Cleveland, as his 16 points and 13 rebounds gave LeBron James and company a huge boost.
Thompson was relentless on the offensive glass, snatching down 12 offensive boards during the win. Thompson’s rebound and put-back with 24 seconds left iced the game for the Cavs.
Cleveland, led by Thompson’s extraordinary effort on the boards, out rebounded Chicago 52-42. The Cavs also pounded the Bulls in the paint, outscoring Chicago 58-44 in paint points.
Derrick Rose, who finished the game with 20 points (8-16 FG,) 4 rebounds and 4 assists, sprained his left ankle during the first half and did not return to the game. Rose left the bench midway through the fourth quarter to ice his ankle in the locker room. Rose’s injury is not believed to be serious.
Kirk Hinrich was huge for Chicago in the loss, scoring 20 points (7-11 FG,) and nailing numerous shots in crunch time. Aaron Brooks was electric for the Bulls as well, scoring 11 points (4-8 FG,) off of the bench. Hinrich and Brooks continued to make big buckets for Chicago as Rose sat on the bench.
Pau Gasol and Mike Dunleavy poured in 15 and 14 points respectively.
Bulls big man Joakim Noah finished with 8 points (3-7 FG,) 13 rebounds and 4 assists, but seemed hobbled due to his surgically repaired left knee.
Cleveland’s next game is Tuesday, on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers. Chicago will play away against the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow night. Derrick Rose’s status for tomorrows game is uncertain.