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Keys to the Game: Cavaliers vs. Bulls

Keys to the Game presented by: Key Bank


Sunday Showdown

On Sunday night, the Wine & Gold get a chance for some redemption and revenge – taking on a Bulls team that demolished them in the preseason opener last week.

The Cavaliers dropped a tight contest to the Pacers on Friday night at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse – with Indiana holding Cleveland to just 16 points in the third quarter and pulling away down the stretch. Rookie Evan Mobley was 3-of-5 from the floor, but the other four starters were a combined 8-for-33 as the Cavs fell to 1-2 in the preseason.

After blasting the Cavaliers last Tuesday night at the United Center – running out to a 48-point second-half lead – the Bulls crushed the Pelicans for their second straight 36-point victory – with Zach LaVine leading Chicago with 21 points and Lonzo Ball chipping in with 19 on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

After tonight’s matchup with the Bulls, the Cavaliers play just one more exhibition contest – on Friday night in Indiana – before the 2021-22 regular season tips off five nights later in Memphis.


History

Cleveland took two of its three meetings against the Bulls one season ago – splitting the first two before posting a double-digit win over Billy Donovan’s squad in late April. In those three contests, Jarrett Allen averaged 12.3 points and 9.7 boards, shooting 63 percent from the floor and swatting three Bulls offerings in the series opener in late March.

In the storied history of these two Central Division rivals, the Cavs trail the all-time regular season series, 108-124. The Bulls also hold a 20-14 edge over the Wine & Gold in the postseason, although the Cavaliers have taken the last two series – with Chicago’s last series win back in 1994.

The single game rebounding mark for the Cavaliers against Chicago belongs to both J.J. Hickson and Kevin Love, who each grabbed 20 boards. Cleveland native Charles Oakley holds that record for Chicago – grabbing 35 boards against the Cavs in 1988.


Connections

Both Lauri Markkanen and Denzel Valentine spent their first four seasons with the Bulls. Markkanen was an All-Rookie First Teamer after his first season in Chicago in 2018; Valentine was the 14th overall pick of the 2016 Draft after a four-year career at Michigan State.

Ricky Rubio played with Bulls center Tony Bradley in Utah and spent three seasons with Zach LaVine in Minnesota.

Bulls scout Mike Wilhelm, a Cleveland native and St. Ignatius grad, broke in with the Cavs as a video coordinator in the 1993-94 season before becoming an advance scout.

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