The Chicago Bulls host the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, looking to snap a season-long four-game losing steak against their Central Division rivals. Cleveland took the first meeting from the two teams this season and presents a matchup issue for the Bulls, who have struggled to win the battles on the glass and in the paint in recent weeks.
Don’t think the Bulls have been affected significantly by injuries and COVID-19? Check out these numbers:
Bulls first 22 Games
-Allowed 8th fewest points in the paint
-Averaged 4th-most points off TOVs
-Allowed 8th-fewest ppg
-6th DEF RTG
Past 20 games
-Allowed most PITP
-Averaged 14th-most PTS off TOVs
-Allowed 7th-most ppg
-26th DEF RTG
Need frontcourt help, but injuries stink.
— Elias Schuster (@Schuster_Elias) January 19, 2022
Cleveland Cavaliers (27-18) at Chicago Bulls (27-15) – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV), and 670 The Score (Radio)
1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Coby White
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Alfonzo McKinnie
5. Nikola Vučević
Injury Report: Patrick Williams OUT (Wrist), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Zach LaVine OUT (knee), Derrick Jones Jr. OUT (knee), Javonte Green OUT (groin), Tyler Cook (ankle)
1. Darius Garland
2. Isaac Okoro
3. Lauri Markkanen
4. Evan Mobley
5. Jarrett Allen
Injury Report: Collin Sexton OUT (Knee), Ricky Rubio OUT (Knee), Rajon Rondo OUT (Hamstring), Lamar Stevens QST (Knee)
What to Watch For …
• Ayo Dosunmu will make his third consecutive start and fourth of the season for the Bulls with Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball still sidelined. Dosunmu made NBA history by becoming the first rookie to record 20-plus points and 10 assists while shooting 90 percent from the field on Saturday against the Celtics. Then, he continued to fill the stat sheet on Monday in Memphis despite the Bulls dropping both contests.
What a day for the birthday boy, Ayo Dosunmu!
15 points (7/12, 1/3)
2 blocks pic.twitter.com/Dr9WmkLK6T
— Patrick K. Flowers (@PatrickKFlowers) January 17, 2022
• The Cavaliers took the first matchup with the Bulls in early December when the Bulls were in the middle of their COVID-19 outbreak that sidelined 11 regulars and left Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball to do the heavy lifting for a short-handed Chicago team. Darius Garland’s 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting and six assists paced the Cavs to a 115-92 win and Rookie of the Year candidate (favorite?) Evan Mobley terrorized the Bulls at the rim, blocking a season-high five shots while shooting 8-of-11 and grabbing nine rebounds.
• Nikola Vučević was downright awful on Monday in Memphis when the team needed their big man to have a big night against the NBA’s best rebounding team and Ja Morant, the NBA’s highest scorer in the paint. Vučević finished with 7 points on 2-of-13 from the floor and 1-of-5 from three-point land while logging just 10 rebounds. Billy Donovan is going to need more out of Vooch with the frontcourt as banged up as it is.
• Alex Caruso is expected to be back tonight after missing the last month with a left foot injury and COVID-19. The Bulls have desperately missed Caruso’s presence in the second unit and on the defensive end during his absence, so hopefully, he doesn’t have any more issues with his legs this season.
• More in here…
Caruso Listed as “Probable” Ahead of Tonight’s Game, Cook Questionable to Returnhttps://t.co/mJ4tZClbRc
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 19, 2022