Keys to the Game: Bulls at Cavaliers (01.25.20)

The Bulls visit Cleveland, Ohio for the second and final time, meeting up with their longtime Central Division rivals, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tonight's contest is the third of four slated between the teams this season. The two split the first pair, each winning on its home floor. Just a week ago at the United Center the Bulls fought back from a 19-point deficit to come away with an exciting 118-116 victory behind Zach LaVine (who else?), who posted a game-high 42 points, 21 of which came during a furious fourth quarter Bulls rally.

For Chicago to come out on top again they're going to have to produce a consistent, hardnosed, blue collar effort in every phase of the game from the moment the ball is tipped-off. Tonight, is the second of a back-to-back set for the Bulls as they took on Sacramento last night at the United Center, whereas the Cavs are well rested having last played on Thursday against the Washington Wizards right here at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. Thus, the Bulls may have to dig a little deeper when it comes to energy and desire.

To be effective offensively the Bulls must play fast, yet they also need to be poised, freely sharing the ball, swiftly and crisply skipping it from player-to-player and from one side to the other in search of open shots or unguarded driving lanes to basket. Every player must stay engaged. The ball can't suddenly end up stuck in just one player's hands while the rest stand around and watch. The offense must create a free-flowing, unselfish rhythm, where everyone constantly moves about while communicating and playing as one.

Defensively Chicago will need to inflict a hardnosed and determined effort, going hard after every rebound, diving for every loose ball, and staying glued to their man while avoiding the trap of endlessly fouling.

The Bulls, as a collective unit, must take the floor bound and determined to out-work and out-execute the Cavs in every possible way.