Derrick Rose missed all of last season after he tore his ACL. Kyrie Irving has missed games sporadically throughout his first two years in the league. Because of those injury issues, Irving and Rose have never played in the same game, despite the fact that the Bulls and Cavs play each other four times each year. Tonight, both premier point guards are healthy and will finally go at it.
When? 8:00 PM Eastern
Where? United Center -- Chicago, IL
Where on my eyeballs? Fox Sports Ohio / NBA League Pass
Things to watch for the Cavaliers
Can we get some consistency? Can the Cavaliers do anything consistently in this game? The first seven games have been an up and down grab bag of some good things, some mediocre things, and some really terrible things. Despite having a respectable 3-4 record, the Cavs are yet to play a complete game. That is to say, they haven't played a game where they looked good on both offense and defense for the full four quarters. I guess the closest game was on opening night against the Brooklyn Nets. But that was with the hyped up home crowd. I'm just asking for consistent effort that doesn't make me want to cry. Is that so much to ask?
Also: the Cavs don't have a win on the road yet. They are 3-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. Tonight's game is on the road. So that means either the Cavs will become 0-5 or they will finally get their first road win. Yep, that's right. That's why you read this blog -- for hard hitting analysis like that.
I'll also be looking for some other players to consistently hit jump shots. The Chicago Bulls defense has been fantastic in past years and that's once again their calling card. They try to force you into taking lots of midrange jumpers. For better or for worse, the Cavs have several players that actually enjoy taking midrange jumpers. Jarrett Jack, Dion Waiters, and Kyrie Irving can all make the Bulls pay for this strategy. But that would require them to make jumpers on a consistent basis. Through the first seven games of the season, it seems like CJ Miles is the only one who can shoot. We know that the Bulls aren't going to give you much around the rim, so it would be nice if some other Cavs could find their range tonight.
Did you know that the Bulls usually destroy the Cavs? It's true. There's just something about this Bulls team with Tom Thibodeau that makes them manhandle the Cavs. Maybe it's the fact that they play defense and the Cavs usually don't. It's one of life's great mysteries.
Things to watch for the Chicago Bulls
Derrick Rose. He's pretty darn good, but he hasn't been this season. After missing an entire year, he's still trying to shake off the rust and perform at a high level. Rose is shooting just 32% from the floor after five games and has committed a stagger 5 turnovers per game. His PER is currently 5.1. Of course, he's not going to stay that bad for much longer, but it'd be nice if it lasted one more night. I'm sure Rose will be hyped up to play against Kyrie (that is, if Rose actually has emotions) so it'll be interesting to see how Mike Brown's defense matches up with one of the league's most dynamic players.
Jimmy Butler is a good player. So is Luol Deng. The Cavs need to not let them get going too much on offense. As I said, the Bulls offense has been struggling mightily thus far and if the Cavs give up wide open looks or easy layups, it lets them off the hook. This is a team that is shooting 26% combined from behind the arc. The Cavs cannot afford to let them get hot from the perimeter or else they'll be in for a long night.
I hope Tristan Thompson shuts down Carlos Boozer.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
A win. Maybe. Carlos Boozer gets shut down by Tristan Thompson.