Ding Dong the Heat are dead… or at least their 27-game winning streak is. But because of it the Chicago Bulls are the toast of the NBA. So in their honor, here is an all-Chicago Three Stars of the Night.
Third Star: Kirk Hinrich (7 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds)
He isn’t here because of his stats, he’s here because he embodied the toughness and tenacity the Bulls brought to this game. He stood in front of a hard-charging LeBron James, wrapped him up and wasn’t afraid of the hard foul. He ripped the ball out of Chris Bosh’s hands in a key moment. He helped keep the Bulls organized and he made smart passes and plays. And most of all, he never backed down. Just like the Bulls.
Second Star:Carlos Boozer(21 points, 17 rebounds)
Carlos Boozer simply outplayed Chris Bosh all night long and it was one of the keys to the Bulls win. He was a key part of the Bulls ability to take a lead in the first half, but he was there late in the game, too, taking the brunt of a LeBron James charge that led to a foul. And making a key tip-in. It’s the kind of game people wish they got every night from Boozer.
First Star: Luol Deng (28 points, 7 rebounds)
With Joakim Noah and of course Derrick Rose out, the Bulls biggest question against the Heat was simply “where will the offense come from?” Luol Deng, to start. He had nine first quarter points to help the Bulls rush out to a lead. He was making plans and throwing alley-oops to Jimmy Butler for poster dunks, all the while dropping threes (he made four in the game). Then when it mattered most he had 12 points in the fourth quarter, hitting big shots down the stretch to secure the Bulls win.
What championship hangover? Cavaliers rout Knicks on ring night in Cleveland.
LeBron had a triple-double — 19 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds — and led the Cavaliers to an easy win over the Knicks, 117-86. Kyrie Irving had 29 points — 19 in the third — and Kevin Love added 23 in the win.
But mostly it was the Cavaliers’ offense getting whatever shot it wanted and the Knicks watching dunks from up close.
Over the course of this season, these Knicks will evolve into something better than they showed opening night. No Derrick Rose (trial) and no Joakim Noah (injury) meant the Knicks starting five didn’t have a lot of cohesion and chemistry from the start.
After a sluggish first five minutes by both teams — they were a combined 6-of-22 shooting to open the game — the Cavaliers slowly started to create a little space behind 10 first quarter points from Love. That lead really started to grow as the Knicks bench came in and went 0-of-6 shooting to end the quarter, with Brandon Jennings making questionable decisions. Tack on seven Knick turnovers and the first and they were down 10 after 12 minutes.
The Cavs were in control through much of the second quarter until the Knicks went on a 10-0 run to make it a game again. It was Derrick Rose and Carmelo Anthony driving the team — they shot a combined 12-of-20 in the first half, the rest of the Knicks were 5-of-23. It was 48-45 Cavaliers at the break.
In the third quarter the Cavaliers starters cranked it up behind Kyrie Irving and tighter defense — the third quarter saw Kyrie Irving with 19 points and the entire Knicks team with 19. It was 82-64 Cavs after three and the celebration was on.
Kristaps Porzingis showed some moments but his 16 points came on 5-of-13 shooting. Anthony had 19 points on 18 shots. Rose had 17 points but four turnovers and one assist. Brandon Jennings came off the bench to shoot 1-of-7. It was not their best night.
For the Cavs, it was one to remember — the first banner in 52 years went up.
Did we mention LeBron James was dunking all over Knicks? Watch for yourself.
“At this point, if you’re not from here, live here, play here, dedicate yourself to Cleveland, then it makes no sense for you to live at this point — Cleveland against the world!”
And with that, the Q went nuts.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers got their rings and raised a banner in Cleveland — the first title banner in that city in 52 seasons (although the Indians are trying to have their say on the matter across the street). It was emotional for everyone in the building, and particularly the hometown boy LeBron.