Bulls-Cavaliers Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers Status Check:
Record: 4-14
Division: 0-3
Conference: 3-7
Home Record: 2-4
Last 10 Games: 2-8
Streak: Lost 2
Last game: 89-79 loss to Detroit
PPG: 95.9 (21st)
Opponents PPG: 101.2 (25th)
Offensive Rating: 103.0 (19th)
Defensive Rating: 108.7 (26th)
Pace: 92.0 (15th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .465 (25th)
Turnover Percentage: .145 (21st)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .747 (3rd)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .324 (2nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .193 (22nd)
Opp. eFG%: .531 (30th)
Opp. TO%: .151 (7th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .223 (23rd)
Leading scorer: Anderson Varejao (15.2)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Cavaliers Injury Report:
Kyrie Irving: out (broken finger)
Dion Waiters: out (sprained ankle)

Overview:
The Bulls continue to play in the “injured starters tour” tonight, this time taking on the Cavaliers who are without their starting backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

“Well, it’s terrifying to think about playing the Bulls without Kyrie and (Waiters), but everyone laces them up the same way,” Cavaliers’ coach Byron Scott said. “You’ve got to come out there and compete no matter who’s on the floor.

The Cavaliers were without those two guys their last time out and scored 79 points, while shooting 33.7 percent from the field against Detroit. Omri Casspi scored ten points on 4-11 from the field filling in at shooting guard. Cleveland fell to 2-6 without Kyrie.

Without Irving and Waiters, the guy to watch has to be Anderson Varejao who is having another great year. He’s averaging 15.2 points and 15.4 rebounds per game, including 6.2 offensive rebounds per contest. He is more than two rebounds ahead of the second place guy for total rebounds per game (Zach Randolph, 13.3).

In the second game of the season though, when the Bulls blew out the Cavaliers 115-86, Andy finished with just 12 points and five rebounds. Even with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters the Cavs shot 40.5 percent in that game. Although, to be honest Waiters usually doesn’t help your field goal percentage. Cleveland only shot 51.9 percent (14-27) from the free throw line in that contest.

The Bulls on the other hand shot 63.8 percent and finished with an offensive rating of 122.3. Chicago assisted on 34 of their 44 buckets and Rip Hamilton scored a co-game high 19 points along with Carlos Boozer.

Speaking of Rip Hamilton getting injured as expected, in their first game without Rip this season, the Bulls struggled…big time. They finished 38.4 percent from the field, and made just two field goals in the final five minutes against Indiana.

The Bulls managed only four points in the final 4:30. Chicago has had trouble closing games without Rose, so that’s nothing new. But now with Rip gone—who had his trouble at the line this year, but was still a good free throw shooter and a guy that can create—it’s gone from bad to worse.

The Bulls couldn’t score, but really, neither could the Pacers, who shot even worse. David West had a bad game, going 3-12 for just ten points. George Hill was even worse going 3-16 and scoring just eight. As a team the Pacers shot just 36.3 percent, and 20 percent from three. Holding a team to 80 points is usually enough for a win, but not for this Bulls team.

Indiana took advantage of Chicago’s mistakes. They scored 23 points off 19 Bulls turnovers. Chicago managed just ten points off of 12 Indy turnovers. The Bulls only had three steals. They aren’t the type of team that gets a lot of steals, but they have to get more than three in a game. Paul George had three steals by himself.

The Bulls easy run of games doesn’t last much longer. After tonight, they face the Pistons on the road, which is where the light schedule ends. When they get back from Detroit, Chicago will host the Knicks and Clippers before playing the Sixers, Nets, Grizzlies, Celtics, Knicks (again) and Hawks in succession leading up to Christmas. At 8-8 the Bulls need to take the easy ones when they are on the schedule.

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