For the second time in five days, the Cavs and Bulls will be doing battle. The site of Wednesday’s game is Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland. The teams have split their two meetings this year, Chicago finding a way to snap a five-game skid sans Zach LaVine in picking up the victory on Saturday.
The Bulls have now won their last two games overall, having defeated the Celtics after the Cavs. That win was monumental for them as they continue to make their push to hold on to the #10 seed. The Wizards have gone 7-1 in their past eight games, while the Raptors have finally figured out how to win, despite having their roster being rested as they endure a long stretch. This is another critical game for Chicago, who could really crush Cleveland’s play-in hopes with a win.
Cleveland has dropped three in a row, and they now sit with a 20-37 record. It has been a tough year for them, as they dealt with injuries to Kevin Love and to both Darius Garland and Collin Sexton. The ‘ideal’ starting five has hardly been able to play together, until the last few games. Falling behind to a short-handed Pistons team that featured a fully 25-and-under lineup will not endear the group to the fans though. They lost a tight one.
The visiting Bulls are set as the favorites, CHI -2. The over/under is set at 212 points. The Bulls moneyline is -130, while Cleveland’s is a modest +106.
Bulls Look for Third Win in a Row
Zach La-Who? Having won their past few games without their superstar, Chicago has got to be feeling good. This has allowed an opportunity for Coby White to slide back into the starting lineup, a place he occupied for much of the season before struggles had him coming in behind Tomas Satoransky. They are also starting Daniel Theis next to Nikola Vucevic, as Boston also went with a two-center look with Theis to open the year.
The lineups have been interesting, but it hasn’t been a negative. They liked Thad Young off the bench, and now he joins Lauri Markkanen off the second unit as they enter together. Vucevic is obviously the best player while LaVine is out, but they win games as a team. Watching him drop 40 doesn’t mean anything. Vooch knows that while he can be a great big, it’s about the other guys too.
Chicago will need to be weary of Cleveland’s dynamic backcourt, plus a revitalized Jarrett Allen.
Cavs Seek to Grant Jarrett Allen’s Birthday Wish
Today, Jarrett Allen celebrates his 23rd birthday. So, here’s me wishing a hearty happy birthday to one they call “The Fro”. Allen has been doing a nice job for the Cavs all year, and it’s good to see him back in the lineup putting up double-doubles. He didn’t directly ask for a win to honor his day, but the goal is to win every game, so we can pretend he did.
Allen will need to be screening for his guards, both so shifty when they can get through the lane. Both Garland and Sexton can get hot from beyond the arc, but what makes them special is their ability to penetrate. Sexton with the short runners, and Garland with his ridiculous lay-up package. One thing he does so well in spite of his size, is getting to the rim and putting two points on the board.
Cleveland is going to need to be able to step in and slow Vucevic, while limiting Chicago’s three-point makes. Down by three with about two minutes left on Saturday, the Cavs missed a deep ball. They then went ahead and allowed the Bulls to make two. If they don’t clean that up, it’s another loss.
Betting Picks for Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers
- SPREAD: Cavs +2
- OVER/UNDER: OVER 212. EFFECTIVE OFFENSE FROM BOTH TEAS.
- MONEYLINE: CLE +106