Pre-Gamin’: Cavaliers at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

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Pre-Gamin’: Cavaliers at Bulls (7:00 CT) — Lineups, Odds, Broadcast Info, Game Thread

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have two games left against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, and I think both matchups should fall under the must-win category.

Game Info

Cleveland Cavaliers (38-28) at Chicago Bulls (40-26) – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Ayo Dosunmu
2. Coby White
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: Lonzo Ball OUT (knee), Alex Caruso AVAILABLE (wrist), Patrick Williams OUT (wrist), Nikola Vucevic PROBABLE (hamstring), Ayo Dosunmu PROBABLE (groin), Zach LaVine OUT (knee)

Cleveland Cavaliers

1. Darius Garland
2. Isaac Okoro
3. Lauri Markkanen
4. Dean Wade
5. Evan Mobley

Injury Report: Jarrett Allen OUT (finger), Caris LeVert OUT (foot), Collin Sexton OUT (knee)

Odds

The Bulls walk into tonight as a -6.0 favorite over the Cavaliers at PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook and a -5.5 favorite at the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite, I guess …)!

I’m not going to pretend like I’m some kind of betting guru, but I’d also take a look a the OVER on points for Nikola Vucevic tonight. FanDuel has him at O 19.5 for -102. I think those are pretty solid odds when we consider he dropped 24 on this team the last time out and Jarrett Allen will be on the sideline. Something to think about.

What to Watch For …

•   Despite a recent lackluster stretch from the Cavs, this team can not be taken lightly. Darius Garland is a star in the making, and he’s been the perfect young leader for this resilient squad. He dishes 8.3 assists per game while averaging 21.0 points behind a 47.5 field goal percentage and 38.0 percent 3-point shot. Overall, Garland carries an absurd +3.7 offensive estimated plus-minus that ranks in the NBA’s 96th percentile, per Cleaning the Glass. Containing his smart playmaking isn’t easy, but the Bulls’ can start with keeping those same active hands we saw in Detroit. Garland does struggle mightily in the turnover department, coughing up the ball an average of 4.0 times per game. As a team, Cleveland commits the 3rd-most turnovers a night. I can’t think of a better matchup for Caruso to make his return, right?

•   Evan Mobley is likely on his way toward a rookie-of-the-year trophy, and he’s shown the Bulls why in each meeting this season. The versatile big man scored recorded 5 blocks when these two first met in December, finishing with an absurd +28 as the Cavs cruised to victory. Then, even though his team ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard in January, he still finished with 18 points on another plus-night. The Bulls’ lack of size makes it tough to contain what Mobley brings to the table, but they have an opportunity to commit more of their defensive energy toward what he does now that Allen is off the floor.

•  Look, I’m all for giving LaVine some extra rest to ensure he can be as healthy as possible for his first-ever playoff appearance. But tonight’s game isn’t nothing. The fact he has to sit out against this Cavs team again is a pretty huge bummer, and it means someone is going to have to step up on the offensive end. Dosunmu dropped 18 points in the January matchup, and White added an extra 16 points. Can this backcourt duo do it again?

•   Because of course … Lauri Markkanen scored his season-high against Chicago the last time these two met. All I ask is for that not to happen again, please.

•   More in here …



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.