The thing about one-sided matchups like the first-round of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Chicago Bulls playoff series is that they can deceive. For it was when the Bulls looked their best Saturday that their chances looked the worst.
Cleveland ended up winning, 96-83, but the score was immaterial. The Cavs maintained a lead that hovered around 16 in the second quarter, then built it to 22 in the third before becoming bored long enough for a seven-minute scoring draught to allow the Bulls to climb to within double-digits in the fourth.
The Bulls will tell themselves that if they can just shore up their poor shooting, improve their offensive rebounding and maybe jack up their intensity, they can be right back in this series.
But they will be wrong.
Even as a Brad Miller jumper cut the lead to seven with five and a half minutes remaining in regulation, there was never the sense that the Cavs were not in control. And indeed, the Bulls never got closer. A combination of missed shots and turnovers along with Antawn Jamison flexing his muscles on the boards and a gut-slashing drive by LeBron James past Derrick Rose dismissed any notion of a "shock-the-world" scenario brewing.