GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bulls

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Anderson Varejao, Joakim Noah
David Liam Kyle/Einstein/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Cavaliers (4-14) return to The Q tonight to take on their Central Division foe Chicago Bulls (8-8) at 8:00 p.m. (ET) for the second of four regular season matchups.

Both teams are coming off losses within the Division as the Wine and Gold fell to the Detroit Pistons, 89-79, on Monday and the Bulls were defeated by the Indiana Pacers, 80-76, last night.

In spite of the loss, the Cavs continued to control the glass, grabbing over 50 rebounds for the third time this season (53), which included a season-high 20 offensive rebounds. It was the 12th straight game the Cavs grabbed at least 10 offensive rebounds, which is the 2nd longest active streak in the NBA (Memphis – 13). The last time Cleveland grabbed over 20 boards on the offensive end was April 4, 2012 at Milwaukee (21).

With former MVP, Derrick Rose, still sidelined with a knee injury, Chicago is led by their frontcourt trio of Luol Deng, Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah. Deng leads the team in scoring at 18 points per game while Boozer and Noah are second and third respectively at 13.7 and 13.0 points a contest. Boozer and Noah also lead Chicago in rebounding, each grabbing 9.8 boards per game.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Jeremy Pargo, SG - Daniel Gibson, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Anderson Varejao

Bulls: PG - Kirk Hinrich, SG - Marco Belinelli, SF - Luol Deng
PF - Carlos Boozer, C - Joakim Noah

Injuries: (Cavs) - Kyrie Irving (Hairline/Non-Displaced Fracture in Left Index Finger, Out), Dion Waiters (Left Ankle Sprain, Out)
(Bulls) - Richard Hamilton (Torn Plantar Fascia in Left Foot, Day-to-Day), Derek Rose (Left Knee, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The Cavaliers trail the all-time series against the Bulls, 109-79, posting a 49-45 mark in games played at home with the Bulls tallying a 64-30 record in games played in their home arena.

Last time the two teams met on Nov. 2, the Cavs controlled the offensive glass (11-5), which led to a 17-2 edge in second chance points. Alonzo Gee and Anderson Varejao finished with 12 points apiece for the Cavs.

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Key to the Game

Control the Tempo
In 2009-10, the season before Tom Thibodeau’s arrival in Chicago, the Bulls ranked 13th in the NBA in scoring defense (99.1 ppg). Since Thibodeau’s arrival in 2011, Chicago has ranked second (91.3 ppg) in 2010-11 and first (a franchise-record 88.1 ppg) in 2011-12.

On Nov. 12 against Boston, the Celtics became the first team to clear 100 points against the Bulls since last season, ending a streak of fifteen straight games in which Chicago held its opponent under the century mark.

Needless to say, the Bulls like to slow the game down at both ends of the floor. The Cavaliers will have to look to push the tempo of the game and get out on the fastbreak at every opportunity.

Key Matchup

Anderson Varejao vs. Joakim Noah
With starting point guards, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, out with injuries, the big man battle between Anderson Varejao and Joakim Noah will be the key matchup. Both players are having career-seasons and give it their all every time they step onto the floor.

On Monday, Varejao recorded his ninth straight double-double scoring 17 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. With those 18 rebounds, "The Wild Thing" has grabbed at least 17 rebounds in five straight games. Over the last 10 seasons, the only other players to have a streak like that are Marcus Camby (5, for the Clippers in 2008-09) and Kevin Love (5, for the Timberwolves in March 2011). Furthermore, the last Cavs player to post nine straight double-doubles was Geoff Huston during the 1981-82 season.

Varejao has grabbed at least 15 rebounds in 13 of his 17 games played this season, including each of the last nine games. Besides Varejao, no player in Cavaliers history has recorded 15-plus rebounds in nine consecutive games. He leads all qualifying NBA players in total rebounds per game (15.4), offensive rebounds per game (6.2) and defensive rebounds per game (9.2) this season.

Noah is presently averaging 13.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 4.2 apg and 2.25 bpg, just shy of averaging 10 rebounds per game. The most recent player to average at least 10 points and rebounds, four assists and two blocks per game over the course of a season was Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves in his NBA MVP season of 2003-04.

Now in his sixth-year in the NBA, Noah is averaging the following career highs in points, assists, blocks, steals (1.38 spg), minutes (39.0 mpg) and free-throw percentage (.781).

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FSOhio HD, NBA League Pass
Radio: WTAM 1100, XM 204, NBA League Pass Audio

Tonight's Promotions

  • Giveaway: A Christmas Story Bobble Leg Lamp presented by KeyBank
  • Toy Drive: Help underserved children throughout the Northeast Ohio community enjoy the magic of the holiday season by donating new, unwrapped toys to the 2012 Cavaliers and Monsters Holiday Toy Drive. More Info
  • Access Cavaliers Night: Includes a ticket to the game, an all-you-can-eat pregame buffet with the Cavalier Girls, Scream Team and Cavalier Legends, a Cavaliers t-shirt and more. Buy Tickets