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

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

Chicago Bulls

I spent most of Saturday cleaning and doing my taxes … so a Bulls win to save this boring day would be very much appreciated!

Game Info

Chicago Bulls (42-31) at Cleveland Cavaliers (41-32) – 7:00 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago (TV) and 670 The Score (Radio)

Projected Starters

Chicago Bulls

1. Alex Caruso
2. Zach LaVine
3. DeMar DeRozan
4. Javonte Green
5. Nikola Vucevic

Injury Report: DeMar DeRozan PROBABLE (adductor strain), Alex Caruso PROBABLE (back), Lonzo Ball OUT (knee)

Cleveland Cavaliers

1. Darius Garland
2. Isaac Okoro
3. Lauri Markkanen
4. Evan Mobley
5. Kevin Love

Injury Report: Rajon Rondo OUT (ankle), Jarrett Allen OUT (finger), Dean Wade OUT (knee), Collin Sexton OUT (knee)

Odds

The Bulls walk into tonight as a +3.0 underdog against the Cavaliers at PointsBet Illinois Sportsbook and a +2.0 underdog at the FanDuel Illinois Sportsbook. Click on either link to sign up and pick the Bulls to cover (… or pick the opposite, I guess …)!

Got your eye on the Elite Eight, too?

What to Watch For …

•   A victory tonight would increase the Bulls’ lead over the Cavaliers AND snatch the potentially important tiebreaker advantage with just eight games to go. So, yes, this is a must-win scenario. The Bulls have pulled off two-straight victories over this Cavs crew, both of which came by double-digits and without Zach LaVine on the floor. With that being the case, we know head coach Billy Donovan has a recipe for success against this team, but whether or not the Bulls can live up to those expectations is a real question.

•   The Bulls have the sheer talent and athleticism to outwork and outrun this big Cavs lineup. But it all starts on the defensive end. Cleveland commits roughly 15 turnovers per game and has the second-highest TOV% in the NBA. All-Star guard Darius Garland is a big reason why, and the Bulls were able to take advantage of his youthful mistakes earlier this month when they forced him into six turnovers. He and his teammates are bound to have a handful of sloppy possessions tonight, and it will be up to the Bulls’ transition-centric offense to make the most of those opportunities.

•   We all know the Bulls have their issues guarding the paint, and that could be bad news against this imposing frontcourt. The Cavs average the 10th-most points in the paint per game, while the Bulls give up the 5th-most points in that area of the floor per game. Donovan has stressed stronger help defense and more physical play in the post, and tonight would be the perfect time for the Bulls to finally show him they can do just that.

•   We also all know the Bulls have had an issue sending opposing teams to the free-throw line, and the Cavaliers have averaged nearly 26 free-throw attempts per game (6th most) since the All-Star break. As a team that allowed the Pelicans to shoot an absurd 34 shots from the charity stripe last game, they will have to play a much more disciplined game tonight to walk out on top.

•   A lot more in here …



Author: Elias Schuster

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