[Thanks to arjoseph for today's preview -ed.]
As the Cavs look to sweep the season series, I wonder:
Can we stop the juggernaut that is Andy Varejao?
Back on Jan. 2, Andy put up 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals in 31 minutes with Big Z out of the Cavs lineup (which he still will be). Nevermind that it was easily his best game of the year and that he just put up only 7 points and 4 rebounds against Memphis this past Tuesday (with both Big Z and Ben Wallace -- flu -- out of the lineup): I fear him, especially if Nocioni ends up playing significant minutes in the frontcourt. Since winning the game is probably out of the question, I'd at least like to win the battle of not making Varejao look like an all-star.
Will LeBron score 41 points again or will he get a triple double, again?
I guess they're not mutually exclusive, but he's done one or the other in each of the previous contests.
Is any non-Rose member of our roster worth more than Wally Sczerbiak's Expiring Contract?
I was thinking of ways to determine this. Would Cleveland trade Wally for any of our guys? Think they would take Larry back? Because that works money-wise. (There's no way in hell they do it.) Would they take Drew back? (Probably, especially with the age and frailty in their frontcourt.) They'd probably take Deng, although I don't know; that's a lot of money extending past 2010, and pretty much pushes LeBron to the power forward spot permanently. They need a shooter or some frontcourt depth. Hinrich? Again, extends past 2010, duplicates a lot of what Mo Williams already does for them, and doesn't shoot well enough to be a full-time spot-up guy. Obviously Cleveland isn't our most likely trade partner, and I don't know if we'd want Wally anyway, but still, interesting to think about. More to the point, I wonder if Cleveland will pull a deal before we do, and whether they'll get more for Wally than we will for any of our scraps.
Will we see more thrilling Rose vs. LeBron one-on-one match-ups?
When the Bulls played Cleveland in the first match-up of this year, there were a couple possessions where, via switches on picks, Rose ended up guarding LeBron. It was thrilling to see the two most physically gifted players on the floor going up against each other. Not that I like Rose's odds to win such a matchup, but for the sheer drama of it I hope we see some more moments like that tonight.
What's the over/under on minutes played by Tyrus Thomas in the 4th quarter?
I'm going to put it at 8.5. I'm an optimist. Apparently, according to 82games.com, he's averaging in the neighborhood of 7 minutes in fourth quarters this year, which surprised me (seemed high for what I've seen).
What's the over/under on minutes played by LeBron in the 4th quarter?
Let's say 9.5 here. Once again, I'm an optimist. The smart money would say that this is going to be a blowout and that LeBron will be chilling on the bench for the entire quarter. Even if it's close, why not trot out the backups to get them experience and keep resting your star for when it counts later in the year? LeBron has been averaging a bit over 8 minutes per fourth quarter, so 9.5 isn't too far off the mark, but I think (hope?) we're keeping it close in crunch time, and that LeBron will feel the need to win the game in the end. Just a hunch.
Important Cavs injuries: Big Z (out, ankle); Ben Wallace (DTD, flu)
Important Bulls injuries: Drew Gooden (DTD, groin/ankle); Deng (DTD, but probably plays again); Larry Hughes (questionalbe, pride/ego)
TV info: TNT @ 7:00 PM Central