The Cavs are back in action tonight after last night’s loss, looking to finish up their current road trip in Chicago with a win. Let’s get into it.
HOW TO WATCH
Where: United Center — Chicago, Illinois
When: 8 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports App, NBA League Pass
Spread: Bulls -3
Opposing blog: Blog a Bull
Expected Cavs starting lineup: Darius Garland / Isaac Okoro / Dean Wade / Lauri Markkanen / Evan Mobley
Cavs injury report: Jarrett Allen (OUT - finger), Caris LeVert (OUT - foot), Collin Sexton (OUT - knee), Dylan Windler (OUT - G League assignment)
Expected Bulls starting lineup: Ayo Dosunmu / Zach LaVine / DeMar DeRozan / Javonte Green / Nikola Vucevic
Bulls injury report: Alex Caruso (QUESTIONABLE - wrist), Ayo Dosunmu (PROBABLE - left abductor strain), Zach LaVine (QUESTIONABLE - left knee soreness), Nikola Vucevic (PROBABLE - right hamstring strain), Tyler Cook (OUT - two-way contract), Lonzo Ball (OUT - meniscus tear), Patrick Williams (OUT - left wrist)
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
STANDINGS THING. After losing the Heat on Friday, the Cavs are 38-28 and sixth in the East. That puts them two games back of the fourth-place Bulls and the fifth-place Boston Celtics. (Currently, Chicago is ahead on percentage points over Boston.) There 16 games left in the regular season, so if the Cavs are going to make a final push for a higher seed, this would be an important game to win.
Coming into Saturday, the Cavs are 1-1 against the Bulls with tonight’s game and a game on March 26 in Cleveland still to go. Keep that in mind for possible tiebreaker purposes.
DARIUS GARLAND WITH ROOM TO WORK. At full strength, one of the reasons the Bulls are good is strong defense from their guards. In Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, they had two of the better defenders at that position on their roster. And with rookie Ayo Dosunmu providing immediate impact on that end, they are stacked. But Ball is out, while Caruso is questionable for this game in a possible return from a wrist fracture while Dosunmu is probable due to an abductor strain. Caruso’s return would be a big deal, as would Dosunmu being able to go.
But if Caruso’s return is held for another game and/or Dosunmu is limited, Darius Garland should have a lot of room to work and get the Cavs’ offense going. For Garland, there would be a massive difference in attacking Coby White than Dosunmu or Caruso.
TRISTAN THOMPSON IS A BULL NOW: After Thompson was traded to the Pacers by the Kings, he was waived and ended up with the Chicago Bulls. He’s appeared in seven games for the Bulls (two of which have been starts) with averages of 6.9 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while shooting 60.7% from the field. Thompson is not a hugely important piece for Chicago, as he’s playing under 20 minutes a night. But he is a rotation piece and just so happens to be on the opposite side of a key Eastern Conference game involving the Cavaliers. Not that long ago, it was the opposite.