Cavaliers-Bulls Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers Status Check:
Record: 13-20
Division: 5-10
Conference: 8-15
Home Record: 8-10
Last 10 Games: 4-6
Streak: Lost 3
Last game: 120-103 loss to the Knicks
PPG: 93.7 (19th)
Opponents PPG: 97.7 (24th)
Offensive Rating: 101.4 (23rd)
Defensive Rating: 105.7 (23rd)
Pace: 91.8 (13th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .467 (23rd)
Turnover Percentage: .146 (23rd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .734 (18th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .302 (2nd)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .221 (8th)
Opp. eFG%: .490 (21st)
Opp. TO%: .135 (21st)
Opp. FT/FGA: .218 (16th)
Leading scorer: Antawn Jamison (17.3)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Cleveland Injury Report:
Christian Eyenga: questionable for tonight’s game (lacerated toe)
Anderson Varejao: out (broken wrist)
Kyrie Irving: game-time decision (illness)

While Chicago is coming off a win they gutted out, the Cavs are coming off an ugly loss.

Cleveland was up 17 points to the Knicks in the second quarter, before faltering in the second half and losing by 17. Honestly, I don’t know why they showed up, because no one can stop Linsanity.

Kyrie Irving played a good game, scoring 22 to go with seven assists, while Antawn Jamison recorded a double-double of 23 points and ten rebounds. The Cavs only had two steals as a team, and forced just eight turnovers. Jeremy Lin usually has eight turnovers himself.

The Bulls on the other hand beat one of the best teams in the West, on the road. The starters didn’t play great, but the bench stepped up. Oh, and Derrick Rose stepped up in crunch time. As usual.

The Bulls only had 16 assists as a team though, led by Rose and C.J. Watson each with four. Chicago is first in the league in assists, averaging 23.1 per game.

Tonight will be the first matchup between top-overall-pick-point-guards (say that five times fast) Irving and Rose, if Irving is healthy enough to go. He missed Cleveland’s shootaround with an illness and is a game-time decision.

Derrick sat out the first time these two teams met, a game the Bulls easily won 114-75. That was the worst loss at home for Cleveland in franchise history. And that was without Rose.

This prompted their coach to have some choice words about his team.

“Chicago was aggressive and physical and the more (shots) they hit, the more we took steps back,” Byron Scott said. “We didn’t react to their physical play whatsoever—besides the whining. You cannot let a good team like they are come in and play harder, be more physical, more aggressive and expect to win or even be in the game.”

Chicago outrebounded Cleveland by 16 overall, but the Cavs pulled down 18 offensive rebounds to the Bulls 13. Cleveland is second in the league in offensive rebounding percentage (.302). Chicago is first in this category (.314), but both teams average the same number of offensive rebounds per game (13.2).

The Cavs are without their best rebounder (and best Joakim Noah impersonator) Anderson Varejao. They are still doing well on the glass with him though. Cleveland has averaged 16 offensive rebounds over their last three games. Varejao had 14 points and seven rebounds in their first matchup.

And Chicago is finally healthy…kind of. Rip Hamilton is averaging 3.5 points, 2.5 assists and two rebounds in his two games since returning from injury. That seems like he ordered the Keith Bogans special.

He was just 1-8 from the field against San Antonio. It’s going to take a few more games for him to get back into game shape (he’s averaging 16.5 minutes in the two games) and hopefully he will get back into a rhythm.

Cleveland is just 8-10 at home on the year. They need to improve that record if that want to make the playoffs. They are currently three and a half games out of the playoffs.

Rose-Irving rookie year comparison: In his rookie season, Rose averaged 16.8 points, 6.3 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. So far this season Irving is averaging 18.5 points, 5.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds. Irving is doing this is a crunched up season as well. This could be a really fun point guard battle for years to come. Until Irving inevitably leaves Cleveland for somewhere warmer…just kidding. I hope.

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