Who: Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Chicago Bulls
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena
Enemy Blog: Blog A Bull
TV: NBA TV
Online: Fox Sports Go
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (right hip - OUT), Derrick Rose (left ankle - OUT)
Bulls injuries: Kris Dunn (left finger - OUT), Zach LaVine (left knee - OUT), Nikola Mirotic (concussion, facial fractures - OUT), Cameron Payne (right foot - OUT), Bobby Portis (suspension - OUT)
Three keys to the game
- Woo, Boy! When fully healthy the Bulls are almost certainly the worst team in the league and they are not fully healthy. They’re without Nikola Mirotic, whose face was cracked by teammates Bobby Portis in a fight, who is also out due to suspension. Their haul for Jimmy Butler, which was already poor, is missing two of its three parts with Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn sidelined. Basically, this does not look good for the Bulls this season. Lauri Markkanen will be suiting up, and his high and quick release and strong range will be just about the only interesting thing to watch from the Bulls.
- This will be Dwyane Wade’s first stretch of his career as a full-time bench player. How will he adjust to the role, and will the ball being in his hands more as a creator help buoy a season that’s been absolutely awful thus far? Meanwhile, J.R. Smith is reinserted with the starters, and that group has mostly gotten run off the floor in the first three games of the season. Seeing how Smith’s defense and spacing affects the other players in the starting lineup will be interesting.
- Is Jose Calderon going to get Bogans’d again? He basically got shut out of the rotation after the disaster in Orlando began after starting the first half. He also looked fairly terrible along with the rest of the roster, so perhaps it was a one-time blip. In his limited time in the rotation though, he looked rather washed up.
Robin Lopez is probably the Bulls best player (sigh) and the Cavaliers will have to work to keep him off the offensive glass and to not use his superior size to kill the smaller Cavaliers. If the Cavs don’t work hard, he can keep Chicago in the game with putbacks and open mid-range jumpers on pick and pops. It is very hard to come up with a “key matchup” for a team this bad, by the way.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers need to show up after a complete shellacking against the Magic at home. They take a minute to rev up, but ultimately run away with this one. Cavs 121, Chicago 99.