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Game #70 - Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls Game Night Open Thread

2009/2010 NBA Regular Season
31-36 54-15
March 19, 2010
United Center
8:00PM et
Radio - WTAM 1100 / FSOhio
Probable starters:
Kirk Hinrich PG Mo Williams
Jannero Pargo SG Anthony Parker
James Johnson SF LeBron James
Taj Gibson PF Antawn Jamison
Brad Miller C J.J. Hickson

The Bulls, losers of 9 straight, and Cavaliers, who have won 10 of 11, square off tonight at the United Center. The Bulls were sitting pretty in the East just a couple weeks ago - 6th seed in the playoff race, four games over .500. Not anymore, a rash of injuries to the nucleus of their team has sent them into a tailspin.

For the Cavaliers, it remains about being able to find a way each and every night. The thought is Zydrunas Ilgauskas will rejoin the team early next week which will provide some much needed size and depth to the front court. While Anderson Varejao has played great at the 5, consistently banging bodies with guys much larger will eventually begin to take their toll.

It would be nice for the Cavaliers to give maximum effort early and allow LeBron, Andy and Co. to get some rest. Every little bit this tie of year is crucial.

3-in the Key

1. With Wednesday's 99-94 win versus Indiana, the Cavaliers clinched the Central Division title. It marked the 3rd time in franchise history that Cleveland has won the division (1975-76 and 2008-09) and the first time they will have won back-to-back division titles. The team remains the only one with more than 50 wins, a playoff spot earned and its division won to date.

2. Cleveland owns the best home and road records in the NBA. The team's 113-101 victory at Detroit on Tuesday was the 15th road win in its last 20 road games, taking them to a league-leading 24-11 (.686) record away from The Q. In facing the Bulls, it will mark the third of four straight games against Central Division opponents (113-101 win at DET, 99-94 win vs. IND, @CHI, vs. DET) and Cleveland currently stands at 9-2 (.818) against their division. Last night's win over the Pacers earned the Cavaliers their 24th consecutive victory versus teams with losing records and pushed their record to 29-3 against teams currently under .500 (Elias). It was their 10th straight victory over the Pacers at the Q and fourth consecutive time overall.

3. Wednesday was a special night for LeBron James as he had a game-high 32 points on 11-24 (.458) shooting, nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists to go along with a game-high three steals and two blocks. Historically, James surpassed Magic Johnson to become only the third player in league history to have 49 or more games with 30-plus points, eight-plus rebounds and eight-plus assists since the 1976-77 NBA-ABA merger. With his 28th point, James reached the 2,000-point mark for the sixth straight season. The last NBA player to record six consecutive 2000-point seasons was Karl Malone, who did it a record 11 straight seasons beginning with the 1987-88 season. The last player with six or more consecutive 2,000-point seasons this early in his pro career was Oscar Robertson, who did it in his first seven seasons in the NBA (1960-61 to 1966-67). After pulling down nine rebounds, James (3,794) moved into fourth place on the Cavs' all-time leaders list in total rebounds, passing Jim Chones' 3,790.