HOW TO WATCH
Where: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse - Cleveland, Ohio
When: 8:00 p.m. EST
TV: Bally Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
Chicago Bulls Blog: https://www.blogabull.com
Expected Cavs Starting Lineup:
Darius Garland, Isaac Okoro, Lauri Markkanen, Kevin Love, Evan Mobley
Cavs Injury Report: Collin Sexton (Knee, OFS), Jarret Allen (Finger, OUT), Dean Wade (Knee, OUT), Rajon Rondo (ankle, GTD)
Expected Bulls Starting Lineup:
Alex Caruso, Zach LaVine, Jevonte Green, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic
Bulls Injury Report: Lonzo Ball (Knee, OUT)
Three Things to Watch:
On to the Next One
The Cavs dropped a tough one to the Toronto Raptors last time out, resulting in a really important game against Chicago. We will learn a lot about this young Cleveland team with their backs up against a wall facing a talented, veteran squad like the Bulls. While they did officially clinch at least a play-in spot, it should not be enough. Several Cavs players have said since the All-Star break that they are having a difficult time finding the drive as they did in the first half of the year. Now is the time to dig deep and find a way to beat a superior, but flailing, Chicago Bulls team.
Get LeVert Going
It is not outlandish to say that the big acquisition of Caris LeVert has been very disappointing for the Cavs. From poor shooting to injuries, LeVert has not been as advertised for the Cavaliers. This has compounded the issues of losing several point guards and shotmakers in that the ball-handling and scoring have to come from Darius Garland primarily. Teams have honed in on that, and Garland was getting hounded by the lanky Raptors. LeVert was brought here to not only be another scoring option but someone else who can bring the ball up the floor and help direct traffic. That has not happened yet and, while Caris is still getting his feet under him after an injury and trying to mesh with this team, the Cavs are desperate for him to come around. Losing Collin Sexton and Ricky Rubio to season-ending injuries did not immediately result in the Cavs cratering back to Earth, but they are in the midst of the slow descent. Getting LeVert going would solve a lot of issues.
It is no secret that the Bulls are reeling, having lost seven of their last 10 games. They, like the Cavs, are looking to right the ship before the playoffs start in a few weeks. The defense has really taken a hit, with opponents averaging 115.5 points per game in their last ten games. While the Cavs are not the most proficient offensive team right now, they may get a good opportunity to get going offensively against a Bulls team that is still working through a litany of injuries to core defensive players. They have lost five of their last six games, allowing opponents to shoot 40% or better from deep in those losses. Opponents have also scored no worse than 126.4 points per 100 possessions in four of their last five games. Add in that the Bulls have lost their last five games on the road and suddenly things start to look a little up for the Cavs. The defense is exposable, and the Cavs must take advantage.