GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bulls

Kyrie Irving
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold welcome the Chicago Bulls to The Q tonight for a Central Division battle at 7:00 p.m. ET.

In Cleveland's (15-26) first game of this five-game home stand on Monday, Tristan Thompson (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Anderson Varejao (18 points, 21 rebounds) combined for 37 points and 31 rebounds despite falling to the Dallas Mavericks 102-97.

Chicago (20-20) got back to .500 for the first time since they were 7-7 on Nov. 27 with Monday's 102-100 overtime win over the Lakers in the Windy City. D.J. Augustin bucketed a season-high 27 points off the bench while Joakim Noah added 17 and a season-best 21 rebounds.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Bulls: PG - Kirk Hinrich, SG - Jimmy Butler, SF - Mike Dunleavy
PF - Carlos Boozer, C - Joakim Noah

Status Update: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Bulls) - Derrick Rose, (Right Knee, Out), Kirk Hinrich, (Right Hamstring, Day-to-Day)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers and Bulls have split their last four overall meetings. The last time the two squads squared off at The Q, the Wine and Gold came away with a 97-93 victory as Dion Waiters scored a team-high 20 points off the bench.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 81-113 against Chicago (50-46 Home, 31-67 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Increasing the Tempo

Like most teams in the Central Division, Chicago wants to play a slow-paced, grind-it-out game.

The Wine and Gold have been scoring at an efficient rate as of late and should avoid a slugfest while looking to take advantage of fastbreak opportunities in increasing the tempo of the game.

Cleveland has averaged 100.8 points over their last 21 games (since Dec. 10).

Key Matchup

Frontcourt Battle

Anchoring Chicago's attack is the frontcourt duo of Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.

Boozer is the 20th player in NBA history to have averaged more than 10.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in each of his first 11 seasons in the league. This season, the former All-Star is averaging 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Noah has grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 13 straight games, the longest such streak of his career. In his last 11 games, the seven-year pro from Florida has recorded 14.1 points, 14.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.82 blocks and 1.27 steals in 35.3 minutes per game.

Squaring off against Chicago's frontcourt will be the Wine and Gold's trio of Luol Deng, Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao.

In six games since joing the Cavs from Chicago, Deng is averaging 18.7 points, including .500 (10-20) from the three-point line, .857 (24-28) from the foul line, 3.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 31.3 minutes per game.

Thompson recorded his fourth consecutive double-double on Monday after posting 19 points on 6-11 (.545) shooting, 10 rebounds (eight offensive) and one block in 39 minutes. His four consecutive double-doubles streak is tied for the longest of his career. Over the past four contests, Thompson is averaging 16.0 points on .558 (24-43) shooting, 10.8 rebounds and 1.0 block in 38.0 minutes per game. Two of Thompson’s 20 double-doubles this season (2nd-most in East) have come against the Bulls (Nov. 11 & Nov. 30).

With two steals against the Mavericks on Monday, Varejao (475) surpassed John Bagley (474) for 8th place in franchise history. Varejao also registered his 10th double-double of the season versus Dallas after tallying a season-high tying 18 points on 7-12 (.583) shooting, a game-high 21 rebounds (career-high tying 17 defensive) and four assists in 38 minutes. He now has five career games with at least 20 rebounds, including two this season. Varejao has grabbed at least 11 rebounds in 11 of the last 12 contests (since Dec. 29), averaging 14.8 rebounds to go along with 11.0 points, 3.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 block in 33.1 minutes per game over that stretch.

Watch: Deng Practice Interview

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM 206, Sirius 212

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Game Promotion

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET for CavFanatic & Access Cavaliers Night. Get Tickets