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Preview: Cavaliers and LeBron James open season in Chicago with the Bulls

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The regular season is finally here! The Cleveland Cavaliers begin their campaign on the road against the Chicago Bulls. Just like last time these teams faced each other, the Cavs will be without one of their stars as Kyrie Irving will not be ready for the season opener. They will have Kevin Love this time around, as well as LeBron James. The Bulls will be looking to get some revenge for their second round exit and give new head coach Fred Hoiberg his first NBA win.

Who? Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls

Where? United Center, Chicago Illinois

When? 8 pm ET

Where on my eyeballs? TNT

Enemy blog: Blog a Bull

Music:

The Chicago Bulls are going to look a little bit different than the last time these teams faced each other. Mike Dunleavy is out with an injury and Joakim Noah has been moved to the bench in favor of Nikola Mirotic. The Bulls will still need to contend with a fully loaded Cavs frontcourt with Tristan Thompson active for Tuesday's contest along with Timofey Mozgov, Kevin Love and Anderson Varejao. While the Bulls pairing of Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah had a lot of issues last season, Gasol and Mirotic has the potential to be ... lackluster on defense. But this is a part of the change that the Bulls are going through. Their offense has featured much more movement throughout the preseason and has looked dynamic at times. While this matchup won't tell the whole story of how these teams stack up, it'll give us a glimpse into two very good teams that have looked to change what they do over the summer.

Things to look for:

  • The Cavs have talked a lot about how much more of the offense will be ran through Kevin Love. While he's still working himself into game shape, we can probably get a pretty good sense for where the Cavs try to get him the ball. Operating out of the high post has always been something that's successful for him, so it'll be interesting to see how many looks they give him there.
  • How lost will Tristan Thompson look? The reports say that he's in very good shape, which isn't a surprise. But there is going to be a learning curve with all the new offensive and defensive sets the Cavs are trying to implement. Thompson should still be able to impact the game with what he does naturally, but it'll be interesting to see if there are a few hiccups and miscommunication with him out there.
  • Derrick Rose apparently was still seeing double when he played on Friday. I don't have a lot to add to this, it just seems crazy to me that he played. It'll be interesting to see if he throws a few passes to the other Jimmy Butler on Tuesday instead of where he actually is.
  • How does LeBron look? He doesn't sound like he's 100 percent confident with how he is physically. But these are teams with a fair bit of history, so there's probably a good chance he tries to make a statement if he is feeling right.
  • How the minutes are divided among the centers. We have never seen the Cavs play with Mozgov, Thompson and Varejao. Where will they get their minutes and when? Mozgov isn't in the best shape yet and still is having issues with his knee, Thompson is playing catch up and Varejao needs to prove that he can be a valuable contributor again.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction:
It'd be wrong to pick anybody but the Cavs for the season opener. We get a throwback performance where LeBron James and Mo Williams go off and Kevin Love does bad things to Nikola Mirotic, Cavs win 105-96.