poniedziałek, 18 stycznia 2016
20 seasons ago: Bulls beat Cavs even without Rodman
The Bulls show up on Thursday, handily spanking the Cavaliers 106-88 at Gund Arena. They didn't even need Dennis Rodman's help. He watched the game from the team's hotel because of a bum left calf.
It's starting to look like Cleveland won't even have the winless Cavaliers (0-4) to get them through the winter.
"It's a different look for them," said Michael Jordan, who led the Bulls with 29 points--23 in the second half. "They're certainly not the Cavaliers of four years ago."
Not that the Bulls (4-0) are concerned. They have their own problem right now, not knowing when Rodman will play again.
Dickey Simpkins got the start at power forward, contributing 12 points and just four rebounds. Still, the Bulls outrebounded the Cavaliers 43-34. Scottie Pippen found himself in familiar territory with a triple-double--18 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists.
It was as though Pippen hit the rewind button to this time last season, when he had to do everything.
"I knew I had to make an effort because without Dennis out there, we're the same team we were last year," Pippen said. "If you look at an area we're going to struggle without Dennis, it's obviously the rebounding."
It was familiar territory for Bulls coach Phil Jackson too.
"When Scottie rebounds, we usually win," Jackson said. "That's one of the trademarks of this ballclub with Scottie on the floor because he can do so many things off the rebound. That was big for us to have those assists with the rebounds."
The Bulls' bench helped out, outscoring the Cavaliers' bench 39-18. Jud Buechler had 13 of those points. The reserves and the starters combined to break open a close game in the third quarter. The Bulls were down 67-64 with 3 minutes 25 seconds left in the period after a Danny Ferry layup. But the Bulls went on a run and took a 74-69 lead into the final period.
The Bulls then broke the game open with a 15-4 run to open up an 89-73 advantage on a Jordan jumper at the 6:30 mark. With :42 left, the Bulls were safely ahead 106-86, thanks to a Jason Caffey layup. Bobby Phills led the Cavaliers with 26 points.
Jordan said Thursday offered a good, early test of how the team can play without Rodman in the lineup.
"That's a good sign for this team, to be able to expand your roles when one player is not in the game and be very productive," Jordan said.
The guy who might have to deal with that role the most could be Simpkins. But Jackson said he wasn't sure if Simpkins would be the set starter should Rodman be gone for a while.
"I'm going to play like I want to be in the starting lineup," Simpkins said. "I have the attitude that I want to be in the starting lineup."