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Pre-Gamin’: Bulls at Cavaliers (6:00 CT) — Lineups, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

It’s the Lauri Markkanen (and Denzel Valentine) revenge game, folks!

Lauri Markkanen is averaging 14 points, six boards, and an assist per contest, all just below the career averages that found him on the outs with the Bulls this summer. Meanwhile, Denzel Valentine has appeared in just 15 games this season, averaging roughly 6.0 minutes per contest. So to say I’m not particularly worried about either player tonight might be an understatement.

 

Game Info

Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers – 6:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)

Stream the game online here with your cable provider.

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Lonzo Ball
2. Zach LaVine
3. Ayo Dosunmu
4. Derrick Jones Jr.
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: DeMar DeRozan OUT (H&S P’s), Patrick Williams OUT (Wrist), Coby White OUT (H&S P’s), Javonte Green OUT (H&S P’s), Matt Thomas OUT (H&S P’s), Alex Caruso DOUBTFUL (hamstring)

Cleveland Cavaliers

1. Darius Garland
2. Isaac Okoro
3. Lauri Markkanen
4. Evan Mobley
5. Jarrett Allen

Injury report: Dean Wade OUT (calf), Collin Sexton OUT (knee)

What to Watch For …

•   Monday night’s victory over the Denver Nuggets probably wasn’t the most impressive victory of the season. I mean, at this point, the Bulls have already had a bevy of legitimate contenders for that award. The wins over the Brooklyn Nets, the dominant victory over the Charlotte Hornets, the fourth quarter drubbing of the Boston Celtics, the most recent win over the Knicks, and I could probably go on, but I digress. What Monday night did turn out to be was more proof this team has “it.” With DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, and Javonte Green in the Health & Safety Protocols and Alex Caruso sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Bulls found a way to beat the reigning MVP. Sure, the Nuggets are beat up as well, but Zach LaVine stepped up and played like a superstar, Ayo Dounmu played north of 40 minutes in his first NBA start, and Billy Donovan found a different way to win when his team was backed into a corner. All great things … but keeping that up over the next couple of games isn’t going to be easy.

•   Evan Mobley has been a stud this season for the Cavaliers and a crucial part of their surprising success. The rookie big averages 14 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game through his first 21 NBA contests. He is a crafty seven-footer, so he likely presents the most significant matchup issue for the Bulls tonight. After all, this team lacks size at the rim, and the absence of players like Caruso, Green, and DeRozan isn’t going to make the battle on the glass easy.

•   The Cleveland Cavaliers have played much better than many thought they would this season, but there’s no way the Bulls can lose the Lauri Markkanen revenge game on Wednesday night in Cleveland. When looking at these two teams, one thing that jumps out at me is the Cavaliers’ 16.1 percent turnover rate, which ranks 29th in the NBA. The Bulls are a tough defensive team, and they play best when they’re getting out in transition on takeaways and turnovers, so the Cavaliers’ turnover rate plays right into their strengths.

•   Ayo Dosunmu has been a blessing for this Bulls team. He fell to the second round, and we can debate whether or not that was an evaluation gaffe on the rest of the league, but the fact of the matter is this; the kid just plays ball. He’s been a plug-and-play delight for Billy Donovan this season, and his impact is being felt right out of the gates in his rookie season. The Morgan Park alumn will get another start tonight and likely be leaned on for his high-energy scoring and defense that we’ve grown accustomed to this season.

•   More in here …



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.