After being handled at home, the Cleveland Cavaliers came roaring back behind LeBron James’ 33 points, winning Game 2 by a score of 106-91. This evens the series and will make Game 3 a lot more interesting as action heads back to Chicago. So who’s got the advantage heading into the next contest of the Bulls vs Cavs series? We’ll discuss that, but first, take a look at the Game 3 betting line:
Game Time: May 8th (Friday) at 8:00pm ET; shown on ESPN
GTBets.eu Betting LIne:
Chicago -2 (-110) 196 (-110)
Cleveland (-110) 196 (-110)
It’s interesting to see that Chicago is now favored on the Game 3 betting line, given that they got down by 20 points in the first quarter of Game 2 and never recovered. But then again, it was the Bulls jumping out to a 31-15 first-quarter lead against the Cavs, before closing the game out in the final quarter. Plus, with action shifting back to the United Center, the Bulls will definitely get a boost. As for how much of a boost, this remains to be seen.
Assuming you’re interested in betting on Game 3 of the Cavs vs Bulls series, make sure to keep the following points in mind.
LeBron James is playing with Renewed Fire
After a pretty bad Game 1, where he played terrible down the stretch, King James came back with renewed focus in the second contest. He said that he needed to be more aggressive, and this is exactly what happened as James continued taking the ball to the basket again and again. We haven’t seen LeBron hit many outside shots lately, and he made just 13-of-29 shots in his 33-point effort last time out. But James’ aggression kept the Bulls on their heels, which allowed him to dish out a very LeBron-like 8 assists, compared to only 2 turnovers.
Understanding Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau’s frontcourt rotation has become nearly impossible. Obviously Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah deserve their minutes, but where is Nikola Mirotic!? He’s become a dangerous scoring weapon who can stretch the floor when Chicago needs offense – something Gibson and especially Noah can’t do. Yet Mirotic continues to only play the last couple minutes of the first half, and garbage time when allotted. Maybe it’s just Thibodeau’s old-school, rookies-don’t-play style of coaching…?
Thibodeau Firing Rumors persist
It’s kind of hard to come out with fire against LeBron and his equally talented sidekick Kyrie Irving when rumors are swirling about your head coach being fired/mutually parting ways. Thibodeau and the front office have clashed over many things, especially his insistence on playing the starters for extended minutes. This has obviously worn on Noah while it puts Derrick Rose’s knees at risk more. But it doesn’t seem like Thibodeau is going to change his philosophy any time soon.
There’s little leeway for the starters to mess up, given what the Cavs have coming off their bench. Guys like James Jones and Matthew Dellavedova can play, but they shouldn’t be your sixth and seventh men. The aging enforcer Kendrick Perkins is the only big man off the bench, while Mike Miller doesn’t look like he could play in a wheelchair league right now, posting four rebounds, 0 points and giving up more buckets in 13 minutes.
As Rose and Butler go, the Bulls go
Everybody makes a big deal about Chicago’s front-court depth, but it is Rose and Jimmy Butler’s shooting which decides how this team fares. Both were a combined 11-34 in Game 2, which can’t happen against the Cavs. Rose and Butler also went 10-for-41 against the Bucks in Game 6 of their first-round series, resulting in another loss. Both players need to at least shoot above 40% for the Bulls to have any chance of winning.
Game 3 Prediction: Cleveland 99 – Chicago 97