Shaw shines as Meteors pull off dramatic win

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Shaw shines as Meteors pull off dramatic win

Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
11:15 PM

By Michael O'Brien
YourSeason.com

De La Salle star Mike Shaw has been around long enough to know what to expect at Hales.

The hot, tiny gym hosts some of the most frantic games in the city, and the Meteors' 68-65 win Friday over the Spartans was no different.

"It was wild," Shaw said. "Everyone was running all over. We just did our best to keep our composure."

The game was played at breakneck speed, but the most crucial moment of the contest came with all ten players standing still and senior Devontae Gatewood at the free throw line. There were 16 seconds to play and De La Salle was clinging to a one-point lead.

Gatewood calmly drained both shots. Hales had a chance to tie, but two three-point attempts rimmed out before time expired.

"We have two All-Americans on the team but they trust the rest of us to do our jobs," Gatewood said. "I was confident I could knock both shots down."

Shaw finished with 22 points and three rebounds. He scored 12 in the third quarter, as the Meteors built a seven-point advantage.

Hales (5-2, 2-1 Catholic League) fought back behind eight consecutive points from Aaric Armstead and tied the game at 62 with 1:51 to play.

Shaw converted a stylish left-handed reverse layup to give the Meteors the lead for good on the next possession.

Aaric Armstead was a force throughout the game, finishing with 28 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-5 junior guard shot 11-for-15 from the field.

Seven players scored for De La Salle in the fourth quarter.

"We've got some tough guys with heart," Shaw said. "Everyone on the team came in here ready to play and win tonight. As long as we keep putting out that kind of effort we are going to be fine."

Dre Henley scored 12 and grabbed seven rebounds for De La Salle (8-0, 3-0). Sophomore Alex Foster added 11 points and five rebounds.

Aaron Armstead scored 12 points and Dominique Walls added 11 points and five rebounds. The Spartans outrebounded De La Salle 31-25, but were undone by 21 turnovers, including three in the final minute of the game.

"We have a lot of young players we are counting on," Shaw said. "But tonight they showed everyone they can compete."

Dwyane Wade, Bulls take first blood with LeBron James, Cavs

Dwyane Wade, Bulls take first blood with LeBron James, Cavs

Dwyane Wade gathered the ball after losing the dribble and bearing down on him was the man who refused to switch off him, LeBron James.

James prepared to block Wade’s layup but a little craftiness beat James’ athleticism on the way to the basket, rolling in for Wade’s 21st and 22nd points with 2:30 left in the fourth.

Wade was the one who made sure to let everyone know this game wasn’t just any old game, and for 37 minutes (season-high) he played like it. Moments later he forced James into a turnover, then another as he sandwiched an offensive rebound and layup between the two possessions.

The layup gave the Bulls an eight-point lead with 2:30 left as the Bulls took first blood in their season series with the NBA champions with a 111-105 win at the United Center Friday — a game that was more anticipated for pregame activities than what was to be expected on the floor.

The Bulls expected to take the Cavaliers’ best shot after two poor performances, and one wouldn’t have been surprised to see a blowout from the champs looking to refocus.

What occurred was an aroused Bulls team, taking advantage of the national stage, a reeling opponent and a frisky leader in Wade, who finished with 24 points, five rebounds and four assists in 37 minutes.

Jimmy Butler shook off a unusual shooting night (eight for 20), partially due to the energy exerted from guarding James most of the night, scoring 26 points with eight boards and six assists.

“Wade, Jimmy and Taj were all beasts,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said.

It was pretty early and grimy late, which is the way playoff basketball is to be played. Speaking of grimy, Taj Gibson was a leader early and throughout, scoring 23 points with 11 rebounds and five assists, making his first nine field goals.

“That was something we talked about,” said Hoiberg of Gibson’s early offensive explosion. “I thought Taj’s aggressiveness and our guys’ willingness and ability to find them early in the possession before the defense got set and the floor space.”

The Cavs led by seven on two occasions in the first half, with pinpoint offensive execution led by James, and it didn’t appear like the Bulls had the manpower to keep up for 48 minutes, especially as their bench was again inconsistent.

“I thought we did a good job of staying in the game and withstanding their run,” Hoiberg said. “As fast as they were coming out of the gate, a couple things stood out to me, one was the rebounding.”

They dominated the Cavs inside, exposing their lack of interior defense as the Cavs have sacrificed rim protection in place of more perimeter shooting, scoring 78 points in the paint and outrebounding them 49-33.

Gibson started off going 5-for-5 in the first quarter, taking it straight to Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. Even his imperfections were forgiven early, as a missed dunk was wiped out by a foul called on Love when it appeared Love barely blew on him.

By the time halftime came around, the Bulls were down one and despite the Cavs shooting 56 percent, they couldn’t shake their opponents. It set the stage for the Bulls to jump on a team playing three games in four nights as well as having played the night before, and the Bulls took an eight-point lead in the first six minutes of the third.

They had the Cavs playing uphill the rest of the night.

“That’s a testament to how we work,” Gibson said. “We like to get out and run. Rondo is the catalyst, pushing us, getting the ball out and we’re capable of running. We can finish around the basket with myself and Robin but we have other guys (too).”

At times, Wade guarded James and vice-versa, leading to some competitive theatre and playful banter. It was no less competitive, though, as James’ pinpoint passing and drives to the basket were often a beauty to behold, scoring 27 points with 13 assists and five rebounds in 45 minutes after his walk of shame through the bowels of the United Center wearing Chicago Cubs regalia after losing a World Series bet to Wade.

Rajon Rondo, a man who is no stranger to bouts with James’ teams, put together his most impactful game as a Bull with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds in 36 minutes.

Kyrie Irving scored 20 for the Cavaliers but took 21 shots and Love scored 15 with nine boards but was a liability defensively.

James was frustrated with his teammates, often rolling his eyes for forgetting to get back on defense. But the Bulls failed to shut the door when the Cavs were reeling, and a James layup made it 92-89.

The Bulls didn’t fold, though, with Rondo and Wade making the necessary plays along with Butler doing his best to corral James defensively, leading to a bounceback victory and a message that perhaps they can compete on call.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bulls welcome Cavaliers to town

In the latest installment of the SportsTalk Live Podcast, the panel previews the Bulls' matchup against the Cavaliers. 

Luke Stuckmeyer is joined by Mark Carman (WGN Radio), David Schuster (670 The Score) and Kendall Gill to break down the keys to a Bulls win. Later, Vincent Goodwill (CSNChicago.com) joins Luke to discuss the team's progress. 

Finally, LeBron James pays off his World Series bet and the entire media world is there to see it. 

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: