Preview: Bulls at Cavaliers
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[January 22, 2014]
The Chicago Bulls have done just
fine since the controversial trade of leading scorer Luol Deng, winning
six of eight decisions to get to the .500 mark. The Bulls try to keep
things moving forward when they visit Deng and the Cleveland Cavaliers
on Wednesday in the finale of four meetings this season. Chicago has won
11 of its last 15 overall after beating the Los Angeles Lakers in double
overtime on Monday and the Cavaliers are 3-3 — five of which were on the
road — since Deng's arrival.
Deng is averaging 22.5 points over his last four contests to give
Cleveland a consistent force alongside the team's leading scorer Kyrie Irving (21.6). A defense that ranks second in the league in
average points allowed and offensive depth — with six players
averaging in double figures — have been keys to the Bulls'
resurgence. The team that has won the rebounding battle in the
previous three meetings has been victorious.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN Chicago, FSN Ohio (Cleveland)
ABOUT THE BULLS (20-20): D.J. Augustin was signed as a free agent on
Dec. 13 and has been a big factor for the Bulls since while
averaging 12.3 points, including a season-high 27 in the victory
over the Lakers on Monday. Augustin may be even more important with
the status of starting point guard Kirk Hinrich uncertain after he
left the last game with a hamstring injury. Carlos Boozer leads the
balanced Bulls offense (14.9) while Jimmy Butler (12.3), Joakim Noah
(11.8) and Taj Gibson (11.7) have also contributed.
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ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (15-26): Cleveland rallied from 22 points
down at halftime before losing to Dallas 102-97 in its first
contest at home after a five-game road trip. The Cavaliers are
averaging 103.8 points since Deng was acquired in the trade for
Andrew Bynum and draft picks — 96.7 for the season, 22nd in the
league. Dion Waiters (14.4) — shut out in the last game — and
Tristan Thompson (12.3) also chip in offensively while Anderson
Varejao averages a team-high 10.5 rebounds and had 21 against
The Bulls have beaten Cleveland 13 of the last 15 meetings,
including two of three this season.
Chicago F Mike Dunleavy, averaging 10.9 points, is 17-of-34
from 3-point range over the last 11 games.
Cleveland F Anthony Bennett, the first overall pick in the
2013 draft, averages 2.4 points and has not played the last four
PREDICTION: Bulls 94, Cavaliers 90
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