Bulls-Cavaliers Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers Status Check:
PPG: 94.4 (26th)
Opponents PPG: 103.1 (19th)
Offensive Rating: 101.4 (29th)
Defensive Rating: 110.8 (25th)
Pace: 93.1 (14th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .470 (27th)
Turnover Percentage: .126 (2nd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .766 (5th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .215 (30th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .226 (19th)
Opp. eFG%: .529 (29th)
Opp. TO%: .126 (26th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .212 (6th)
Home Record: 4-6
Last 10 Games: 2-8

Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.

In the movie Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy Krueger was blown up, had his arm ripped off and shoved through his chest, and then got his head lopped off with a machete. And even that doesn’t quite compare to the savage beatings being put on the Cavaliers these days. Check out their last five games:

Lost 106-87 to the Boston Celtics
Lost 118-90 to the Miami Heat
Lost 129-95 to the Minnesota Timberwolves
Lost 102-92 to the Detroit Pistons
Lost 117-97 to the Philadelphia 76ers

Five double-digit losses — the last three on the road against sub-.500 powder puffs — by a combined total of 111 points. Man, it’s like LeBron tore out what was left of the Cavs’ hearts, jammed them into a Magic Bullet and hit the “liquefy with extreme prejudice…while laughing” button.

By contrast, the Bulls have looked pretty solid in winning two in a row. And yet…I smell a trap.

After the Cavs lost in Philly last night, concluding a rather disastrous little road swing, Cleveland coach Byron Scott said: “I’m very disappointed with this whole road trip. I don’t know where the sense of urgency is right now, especially on the defensive end. Guys have to take more pride and ownership in the fact that they have to guard their man. We’re getting beat off the dribble like we’re not even there. Pride has to come into it. Guys go right down the lane for easy layups and nobody seems upset by it. Everybody has to do a lot of soul-searching.”

Those are some strong words. Even though the Cavaliers are playing on the second night of back-to-backs, they’re going to be at home and their coach just called them out to the press. If the players are ticked off and feel the need to defend their pride, the Bulls could be in for a dogfight.

Still, I look at their top five scorers — Mo Williams (14.7), Boobie Gibson (13.3), Antawn Jamison (12.4), J.J. Hickson (11.6) and Ramon Sessions (10.7) — and all I can think is: The Bulls can shut these down. I mean, Cleveland is scoring only 94.4 PPG on 43 percent shooting. Chicago is ranked 9th in Defensive Rating. Two plus two and all that.

Plus, as Scott pointed out, the Cavs aren’t exactly putting up any defensive resistance. Their opponents are shooting nearly 48 percent from the field (the league average for opponents field goal percentage is 45.6) and better than 41 percent from downtown (the league average is 36.1 percent). That three-point defense is the second-worst in the league. To the Clippers.

And Cleveland is getting killed by mid-range shooters. According to Hoopdata, they are the worst team in the league at defending shots from 10-15 feet, letting their foes hit 49.6 percent of their shots from that range. The next-worst team, the Magic, only let their opponents hit 43.1 percent of their 10-15 foot jumpers.

Sounds like a job for Derrick Rose and Luol Deng!

11 Responses to Bulls-Cavaliers Preview

  1. choyle@bpu.com'
    Chuck December 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Sniff, sniff… I smell a trap too. The thing that really makes this a trap game is that everyone feels sorry for them. LeBron turned out to be a world-class DB. The player left behind were pretty plucky and frisky at the start of the season, but have been absolutely blown out lately. You have to have sympathy for them. You kind of root for them.
    Our biggest defense against that will probably be Boozer. He is just getting back into the lineup and he has something to prove. He understands that in sports you have to kick them when they are down. No mercy.
    The Bulls should give them a beatdown because they are the clearly better team. It is not close.

  2. Inception December 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    trap….hate games like these.

  3. enigmatik.inviktus@gmail.com'
    Enigmatik December 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    Put me down for smelling a trap, too. This is still professional basketball. Hopefully the pros that we root for will make this 6 double digit losses in a row tonight.

  4. TBF December 8, 2010 at 8:14 pm #

    Trap or not, this is the kind of game that elite teams win with ease. If the Bulls want to be a legit contender, they need to manhandle the cream-puffs on the schedule. The Cavs should be nothing more than a speed bump, but we need to make sure to handle our business and not get caught looking ahead to the Lakers.

  5. Sam December 8, 2010 at 10:40 pm #

    You forgot Boozer. He might be the best mid-range shooter on the team. I predict the Bulls will get a big lead early, blow it or nearly blow it, then win close because Derrick does something awesome. I love this team!

  6. yomomma@hotmail.com'
    Scottie Pimpin December 8, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    when you see a dead horse, dont kick it, slice it up and make hamburgers out of it.

    no falling in love with jumpers if your not named Kyle Korver, play hard D and smart O and this game should be in the bag.

    need to start building a rhythm and some fire for when we meet up with miami. i wanna see elbows flying, shoulder bumps and overall ass kicking out there !

    lets go bulls !

  7. enigmatik.inviktus@gmail.com'
    Enigmatik December 9, 2010 at 2:33 am #

    Well, we now know that the Bulls are not an elite team. 5 point win against a garbage team? I know a win is a win, but damn. Once again, the team fell asleep for at least 1 quarter.

    Please remind me why Keith Bogans is starting. Thibs needs to make up his mind on starting either Korver or Brewer, plus see what type of moves can be made to acquire a reasonable guard who can put the ball in the basket often and play strong defense on opposing guards. O.J. Mayo?

    I didn’t get a chance to see the game, but I’ve been following the score all evening. Did Carlos Boozer get sent back to Chicago during the game?

  8. Inception December 9, 2010 at 3:23 am #

    you have to take that win….after what byron scott said in the media about his team, you know they had to be fired up….yeah, it’s the cavs, but i’m sure they were playing with a lot of heart and anger.

    but WTF happened to Boozer? 6 shot attempts? not there in the final minutes? …you know he had to be in thibs doghouse.

  9. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    Chi4life da Bulls December 9, 2010 at 4:37 am #

    the chatter is still coming I have written many post and I am gonna say it again our bulls need to have another scorer O J MAYO yes i said it again he is the one that the bulls need to go after he will be the last piece to our puzzle also he will not cause our salery cap to go over the top i think he would be more than willing to come to the bulls considering he is not playing much, so you ppl that have not actually seen the games I have seen watch tonight and the team in the last quater who is not present who is not making the court open we need another solid scorer period go get OJ and let him bring the Mayo so that our bulls will be true contenders. peace

  10. TBF December 9, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    “The Bulls are not an elite team”.

    That’s all you have to hear. Get off the bandwagon. Go find another team to follow; the real Bulls fans don’t need you.

    You didn’t even watch the game, but you’re gonna make a bunch of pronouncements about the team *after 1 game*? Wow, yeah, I bet Laker Nation was just about wetting their collective panties after their 4 game losing streak a bit ago. They lost to the Pacers. On their own home floor. You think they had random doofuses who didn’t see the games saying how the Lakers aren’t an elite team?

    We got an ugly win in the early going of the season. God, some people really need perspective on these games. Yeah, I wish we’d have won by 30 also, but 1 game does not an elite team make. It’s great how a 5 point win can suddenly make everyone forget the Circus Trip and its successes and the destruction of OKC at home; a game which really was never close.

  11. enigmatik.inviktus@gmail.com'
    Enigmatik December 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    @TBF – I’m probably more of a real fan that a lot of so-called real Bulls fans. This isn’t a pronouncement after 1 game. This is a recurring theme for the Chicago Bulls and it almost doesn’t seem to matter who the players are on the roster.

    Comparing the Bulls to the Lakers is laughable. The Bulls have been out of the 1st round once in the last 12 years. Apples and oranges, my friend.

    I know what this team has the potential to be and I’m sick and tired of seeing baby steps. It’s time to Usain Bolt the competition. Consistently sleep walking through stretches of games DOES NOT MAKE AN ELITE TEAM.

    “I still can’t eat right now because of the way we played. My stomach is messed up with just the thought of us losing that game. It hurts. We can’t accept that, the way we played. We played terrible. I am really thankful to get this win.”

    “I like winning games comfortably. It hurts. We won, but it still hurts me right now just thinking what would have happened if we would have lost…We know when we’re in this position like this we got to find ways just to put teams down. Step on them, and make sure they don’t have any confidence to come back.”

    – Derrick Rose

    My sentiments exactly…glad to see I’m not alone when it comes to the thought that good teams should stomp the life out of bad teams.

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