Cavaliers-Bulls Preview

Cleveland Cavaliers Status Check:
Record: 6-7
Division: 1-1
Conference: 4-3
Home Record: 2-2
Last 10 Games: 5-5
Streak: Lost 1
Last game: 105-95 loss to Golden State
PPG: 96.4 (11th)
Opponents PPG: 96.2 (20th)
Offensive Rating: 102.2 (16th)
Defensive Rating: 102.0 (14th)
Pace: 93.5 (5th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .477 (17th)
Turnover Percentage: .152 (23rd)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .753 (7th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .291 (7th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .222 (14th)
Opp. eFG%: .487 (20th)
Opp. TO%:  .138 (21st)
Opp. FT/FGA: .194 (9th)
Leading scorer: Kyrie Irving (17.7)

Stats from Basketball-Reference

Cleveland Injury Report:
Anthony Parker: probable (sore lower back)

Derrick Rose could miss his third straight game when the Bulls try to win in Cleveland tonight.

The Cavaliers and Chicago have both had off since Tuesday. The Bulls dominated the Suns on Tuesday, without the reigning MVP, while Cleveland lost to Golden State. That loss to the Warriors was the Cavs homecoming after a seven game road trip. Kyrie Irving had himself an impressive stat line in a losing effort, scoring 18 points and adding eight rebounds and five assists. Anderson Varejao recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 boards.

Irving is averaging 17.7 points, 5.2 assists and is shooting 48.6 percent from the field (he is also shooting better than 44 percent from three in his last ten games).

Some of the Bulls had some very impressive games against Phoenix. C.J. Watson scored 23 points and dished five assists filling in for Rose. Watson had zero turnovers in 33 minutes as well. Carlos Boozer scored 26 points in the first half, and finished with 31 points and six rebounds. The 31 points is a season high for Boozington. Rip Hamilton returned from injury to score eleven and added six assists. Joakim Noah got back on track with 13 points and 12 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.

Part of this was the Suns inability, and apathy, on defense, but still these were impressive numbers by the Bulls’ players in a game in which they needed to step up.

But the Bulls allowed the Suns to shoot 51.4 percent from the field, 45.5 percent from three and score 97 points. Not quite the great Bulls defense that is expected when they play in the United Center.

And it doesn’t appear that Derrick Rose will be playing tonight. ESPN Chicago’s Nick Friedell tweeted earlier today “Doesn’t sound like Derrick’s playing tonight. Said this turf toe injury is worse than the one he had two years ago.” Rose didn’t participate in the morning shootaround and will be a game-time decision. Derrick did say that he did want to play, but I think it is better that he rests.

This is the best time for Derrick to sit out some games, and actually heal. Chicago plays Cleveland, Charlotte and New Jersey in their next three games, which should be wins even without Rose. Add to that the Phoenix game Derrick just missed, and this is probably the easiest four game stretch the Bulls have all season.

Plus C.J. Watson played well, and has always played well, in Rose’s absence. Watson averages better than 24 points in games which Rose is out. Even John Lucas stepped up that one time Derrick was out. You remember that, right? When he had 28 shot attempts…good times, good times.

It would’ve been fun to see Derrick Rose go against rookie Kyrie Irving, but we will have to settle for Watson and Lucas most likely. And until Rose is actually healthy, that’s the way it should stay. The first game the Bulls should need Rose is Wednesday against Indiana.

Last season the Bulls were 4-0 against Cleveland. Chicago won by an average of nearly ten points, with their biggest win being by thirteen. So the games weren’t big blowouts like some may have expected.

The Cavs were one of the few teams to bring down more offensive rebounds when playing the Bulls. Cleveland averaged 11.5 offensive rebounds per game, while Chicago averaged just 8.0. That was the Bulls’ lowest offensive rebounding total against any team last season. Chicago did average more total rebounds than the Cavs though.

Antawn Jamison averaged 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds against Chicago last year. While, Carlos Boozer averaged 21.3 points and 10.7 rebounds in the last three games against Cleveland. In the first game he scored just four points and grabbed three rebounds in more than 20 minutes.

If Derrick Rose is once again out, the Bulls will need players to continue to step up. Who is it going to be tonight?

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