Kia offered us the opportunity to see two NBA playoff games between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls, with the road trip from Cleveland to Chicago in the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento sandwiched in between. Naturally we said yes and needless to say it was quite an adventure! (Read more about our impressions of the Kia Sorento here).
It all got started in Cleveland will some amazing floor seats just behind the Cavs bench. Right away we had a buzz-worthy story as Lebron was introduced wearing his signature headband which he had discarded earlier this season. But after a game one thrashing at the hands of the Bulls, Lebron felt the need to go back to the headband to revive his game, which seemed silly in many ways until the game started and the Cavs jumped out to an early lead.
As a Cavs fan the entire experience was pretty amazing. It started as I checked in to the Hyatt located in the historic Arcade in downtown Cleveland.
I was joined by Paul Strauss from The Awesomer and 95octane for both the games and the road trip. I’m a Cavs fan and he’s a Bulls fan but we managed to be civil about it and just enjoy the atmosphere. It was harder in him as the Cavs romped to a blowout victory in game 2, but he would certainly have the last laugh . . .
The Cavs jumped out to an early lead as Lebron led the way, and had the game in hand for most of the evening.
Most sports fans know Lebrons’ story, along with the misery Cleveland sports fans have had to endure with crappy teams and close calls since the city’s last major sports championship in 1964. With that history in mind, the recent Kevin Love injury was that much harder to take for Cavs fans. The team was rolling, and then with one bush-league play in Boston, Love’s shoulder popped and suddenly the road to a possible NBA title seemed that much harder.
We noticed right away whe Love sat down behind the Cavs bench, and soon after I snapped this photo the Cabs introduced him on the massive jumbotrons to a local crowd that went crazy.
With the Cavs playing well and Love there to provide emotional support, everything seemed to be going well. Even celebrities like Chris Carter, sitting right in front of us, were enjoying it, and Carter made a point of getting Lebron’s headband after the game ended just like a true fanboy!
Meanwhile, it was a rough night for Derrick Rose and the Bulls, but this trip was just getting started . . .
We hit the road the next morning with the Kia Sorento on a beautiful sunny day for a comfortable road trip. The freeway route wasn’t particularly fun or scenic, but we stopped for some fast food and fuel and also took a detour stop by the lake on the way.
Once we arrived in Chicago, we stopped by the United Center to check on our tickets and then I checked in to the luxurious, all-new Loews hotel in downtown Chicago and got to enjoy the city for a couple of days.
Then came game time for game 3 in Chicago, and right away the atmosphere was completely different. I was now in enemy territory in a sea of red, and greeted by a strange floating bull.
While the first two games of the series ended in blowouts for each team, game 3 was a battle from the beginning. The game was very physical, and frankly you had to wonder if the refs might lose control of the game at some point. Both sides suffered injuries, as Pau Gasol had to leave the game with a hamstring injury, while Kyrie Irving wasn’t himself as he twisted an ankle early in the game. Derrick Rose took advantage of that with excellent moves to the rim, while the Cavs stayed in the game with excellent three-point shooting.
They needed that until the very end, as JR Smith launched a game-tying three with ten seconds left, but then that just set things up for an excruciating ending for Cavs fans and complete hysteria in the United Center.
With three seconds on the clock, Derrick Rose got the inbounds pass and launched a desperation three over Tristan Thompson as time was expiring, and somehow he BANKED IT IN! Wow! All I could do was smile as Paul and the other Bulls fans went crazy . . .
The ending wasn’t something I’d like to remember, but the rest of this road trip was fantastic!
Thanks again to Kia, and check out our impressions of the Sorento here.