So, in case you missed it, the Cavs fired David Blatt yesterday and Tyronn Lue has taken over as head coach. Lue's debut comes a little more than 24 hours after Blatt got the axe. Let's preview what figures to be an interesting contest in Cleveland.
When: 8:30 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena - Cleveland, Ohio
Enemy Blog: Blog a Bull
Music: Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown) - the Beatles
Keys to the game
- It's hard to know how much Lue will change in the first game, although I'd bet the Cavs come playing with laser focus. The Cavs were completely off yesterday - although it's possible the had a meeting the public isn't aware of Friday after the firing was announced - and won't meet as a team until shootaround sometime Saturday. So, while Lue will probably make some kind of change to the Cavs (even it's small), we probably won't see it Saturday.
- It'll be interesting to see the mood of the team during and after the game. If they really were done with Blatt, that should show from the first game of Lue's tenure.
- As for on the court analysis, the Bulls are a confusing team to evaluate. Last night, they lost 110-101 to the Celtics and for a large part of the season, they've played down to the levels of lesser teams. They have, though, played well and beaten teams like the Thunder (twice), Spurs, Raptors, Clippers and Cavs. It's also a team that LeBron James mentioned when talking about the teams that have more experience than the Cavs.
- The most infuriating part from the Bulls' perspective is that there really isn't any consistency to these Bulls. One week, they look amazing and then the next, they look downright bad. That was further complicated by Joakim Noah's season ending shoulder injury. As Ricky O'Donnell wrote over at Blog a Bull, there's no magic fix for these Bulls.
- In reality, this Bulls team is probably about average. Jimmy Butler is a bonafide star, but every other player has been mostly inconsistent. Coach Fred Hoiberg put it best after the Bulls' loss to the Celtics last night:
Hoiberg: "There’s such a fine line in this business of being a great team and a very average team. And we teeter on that line."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) January 23, 2016
- Perhaps the most interesting part of the Bulls are their young players. Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott are all inconsistent, but also show flashes of becoming something important now and later. Watching Butler go all out on both ends is pretty great too.
- On the production side, this is the first Saturday primetime NBA game. Mark Jackson, Stan Van Gundy and Mike Breen will be calling the game and it'll be interesting to see what a Saturday primetime NBA game feels like. It also puts the Cavs and their new coach right in the limelight from the get-go. Expect a lot of chatter about the Cavs and their new coach for the entirety of the broadcast.
Fear the Sword's Fearless Prediction
Lue is going to open his coaching career 1-0. Cavs 103, Bulls 92.