The Cavaliers win streak has reached an insane 11 games after a brutal 5-7 start to the season, and their schedule has lined up nicely to help them continue it. On Monday night, they head to Chicago to square off with possibly the worst team in the league. I’m going to this game, so if they lose, you can just blame me.
Who: Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7) at Chicago Bulls (3-18)
When: 8:00 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Enemy Blog: BlogABull.com
TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Online: Fox Sports GO, NBA League Pass
Cavs injuries: Isaiah Thomas (OUT - hip), Tristan Thompson (OUT - calf), Derrick Rose (OUT, away from team/ankle injury), Iman Shumpert (OUT - left knee)
Bulls injuries: Zach LaVine (OUT - knee), Bobby Portis (TBD - arm), Nikola Mirotic (TBD - face), Cameron Payne (TBD - foot)
Three keys to the game:
- The Cavaliers will need to run the Bulls shooters off the three-point line, especially Justin Holiday and Lauri Markannen. Both sharpshooters killed the Cavs in their too-close-for-comfort meeting at the Q earlier in the season, and even though the Bulls are awful, they can put up points if left alone.
- Kris Dunn is actually playing pretty well after a complete nightmare of a rookie season in Minnesota after returning from injury. Fred Hoiberg has kept his minutes down, but he’s averaging 15.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists per 36 minutes this season, and, importantly, hitting 42.5 percent of his threes. That three-point number won’t stay so high, but if he’s moderately consistent, his chances of turning into a positive player become much better.
- The Cavaliers are inevitably going to lose a bad one, and their focuse waxed and waned against the Grizzlies on Saturday. With that said, they’ve been able to bail themselves out of bad situations during the streak. Ideally, they won’t continue to play with fire against the Bulls, who are about as beaten down as you can get at 3-18 to start the season.
Kevin Love should be able to find some rhythm using his spacing ability to exploit Robin Lopez. Lopez is a helpful big man on offense and defense, but speed is not exactly the name of his game. If Love can make Lopez move in space, he’ll win that battle most of the time. A big game could be coming for hte Cavs big man.
Fear the Sword’s Fearless Prediction
The Cavaliers should win this one rather easily. Cavs 126, Bulls 111.