Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers Preview and Pick

Chicago Bulls +7.5 (2-2) at Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5 (2-2) O/U 186 – 8PM ET Wednesday November 5, 2008 on ESPN
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Chicago Bulls visit Cleveland to play the Cavaliers. Both teams are 2-2 and so far the Bulls are 0-2 on the road, while the Cavs are 1-0 at home.

Basketball Bookies are listing the Cavs as 7.5-point favorites with a total around 186 points. The Cavs are posted at -370 as home favorites while the Bulls are posted at +290 as away dogs.

The Cavs come into this game after beating Dallas in the Big D 100-81 and they finally shot the rock well, as their shooting has been their downfall in the early part of the season. The high scorer in that game was no shocker, LeBron James who snapped out his slump big-time going for 29 points on 8/20 shooting. He shot the ball well, but the reason he played so well is that he got to the charity stripe which once there he shot 13/15. Cavs C Zydrunas Ilgauskas also had a good game going for 17 points on 8/12 shooting and also had 11 boards. For the game the Cavs shot 35/79 for a FG% of 44.3%. On defense the Cavs clamped down and only allowed the Mavericks to shoot 29/71 for a FG% of 40.8%.


The Bulls come into this game after a tough away loss to the Orlando Magic 96-93. The high scorer for the Bulls in that game was Drew Gooden going for 21 points on 9/16 shooting. This year’s No.1 pick Derrick Rose had his worst night as a pro only going for 14 points on 7/16 shooting. For the game the Bulls shot 38/86 for a FG% of 44.2%. On defense the Bulls played pretty good, as the Magic only shot 33/80 for a FG% of 41.3%.

Both these teams are not high scoring ones, obviously with an O/U of 186, as the Bulls rank 19th in scoring (94.3 ppg) while the Cavs rank 21st (93.3 ppg). Both teams are getting to the charity stripe often, but the Cavs have a horrible FT% of only 69.91%. Cleveland is the better defensive team, as they rank 7th in points allowed (88.5 ppg) and the Bulls rank 14th (93.3 ppg). The Cavs are also better on the boards, not surprising with Big Ben Wallace and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, as they have an +8.5 rebound differential to the Bulls +2.

This season both teams are 3-1 against the spread and both are 1-3 in terms of Over/Under.

On the injury front SG Larry Hughes is out for Chicago and SG Delonte West is day-to-day for Cleveland.

This game features this year’s top pick in Derrick Rose and the best basketball player on the planet in LeBron James, even though a guy named Kobe out in La La land might have something to say about that. The Cavs match up well with the Bulls, as down low they have Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ben Wallace and the main weakness of the Bulls is their interior defense. Drew Gooden is listed as the starting C for the Bulls, but he is more of a power forward and tonight he will be giving up 5 inches on Ilgauskas. His saving grace is that he is a younger and quicker player so the difference won’t be noticed that much.

The Bulls have the advantage in the backcourt with the many legit perimeter players they have, but Rose has to have a better game than he did at home against Orlando. If LeBron matches up with Rose on D it will be interesting to see how the rookie does.

The Bulls will have to shoot lights out tonight to win, as their rebounding is pretty weak with Gooden being the leader on the boards with only 8.8 rpg. There are 5 Bulls that are averaging in double figures in points, but Gooden is the only one who can really score in the paint on a consistent basis. If the Bulls shoot poorly they will get smoked tonight.

Rose will attack the hoop, but if he can get past his defender he will have Wallace waiting for him. The Cavs can sag back on Rose since he has taken only one 3-pointer this year and he missed it.

Is LeBron out of his shooting slump? We shall see tonight in Cleveland, as one team will get above .500 while one will fall below .500. The season is young, but this is an important Central Division match up.

Jason’s Pick: Take the Cav’s minus the points.