Cavaliers vs. Bulls Opening Night Final Score: Butler, Gasol Swat Cleveland Away


156. Final. 97. 24. 95

The first NBA game of the season is in the books, as the Cavaliers and Bulls did battle at the United Center — and there is plenty that Cleveland has to work on as they move forward.

It’s just the first game, so you can’t panic about anything at this point, but you can be concerned. It all came down to the final possession of the game, as the Cavaliers needed to overcome a 97-95 lead by the Bulls but were rejected by Pau Gasol and Jimmy Butler. The first failed possession saw Gasol block the life out of LeBron James’ potential game-tying layup and the Jimmy Butler swat the inbounding pass away for the win.

Cleveland once again starts the LeBron James era 0-1, and it’s a loss that hurts. But it’s the first of 82 games this year and is hardly fatal. There’s a lot that needs to be worked on but it’s a start the Cavaliers can learn from and build off of as they prepare to play 81 other games.

Three Stars…

Mo Williams

With Kyrie Irving out for the foreseeable future, Cavaliers fans are going to get reacquainted with Mo Williams right off the bat. It’s a Mo blitz, as he not only started in place of Kyrie on Tuesday but managed to back it up with some solid play. It wasn’t lockdown play on the point, but it was enough to make us all confident that when we do see a return from Kyrie, Mo is going to be more than a solid backup off the bench.

Derrick Rose

This is the feel good star of the game. We all expected an already banged up Rose to break in the first game of the season — which he almost did. But the Bulls star managed to not only overcome an early ankle tweak but managed to start looking like his former self late in the game. There was a play in the fourth quarter where Rose drove the lane, absorbed contact and still made the play. That’s what we want to see out of Rose as basketball fans, even if the Cavs were on the wrong end of things.

Jimmy Butler

It’s going to be a battle all season long between who the bigger star for the Bulls is. Jimmy Butler is more than capable of supplanting D-Rose as the face of the franchise, but if they can work together they will be even  more special than they already are. We saw some big plays late between these two that took the Cavaliers by surprise and threw them off. That is something to watch develop as the season presses on, and it’s something the Cavaliers need to learn how to counter.

Up Next…

The Cavaliers will head to Memphis for a tough challenge against the Grizzlies. It will be Grizzlies first game of the year and the first back-to-back for the Cavaliers. Coming off a tough game against the Bulls, it will be interesting to see how well they rebound and look on their first back-to-back of the year.

Next Three Games…

. 211. . 156. Final

156. . 110. Final.

. 93. . 156. Final