[Thanks to HawkeyeBoiler (nice, consolidate two things I hate.) for today's game preview (sign up!). After being blown out by the Sixers last night, the Cavs are likely the worst team in the NBA right now. Or at least the East. Reminder that it's an early start, 6pm on CSNChicago -ed.]
Tonight's game marks the return of a former star to Cleveland who left the city under dubious circumstances. No, I'm not talking about LeBenedict James. I'm talking about the return of one Carlos Boozer. Many believed Boozer was the 2nd option that LeBron never had as he left the team early in Bron's career after a murky situation involving a handshake agreement. Could Boozer have been the influence for Bron's backstabbing departure? Probably not, but it does have a tiny sidenote in this game.
The Bulls come into this game on a two game winning streak. Saturday was a game that Derrick Rose had to take over in order for the Bulls to beat a struggling Rockets team, while Monday's game against the Thunder was a pleasant victory that was in hand for much of the 2nd half. Carlos Boozer had his first Boozer-like game, which covered up the struggles of Rose and Joakim Noah. The Cavs are a team that Boozer should feast on inside, as he will be guarded by the likes of JJ Hickson and Antawn Jamison. Look for the Bulls to establish Boozer early to open the floor up for Rose and Co.
On the other side, Cleveland comes in on a 5 game losing streak, and not one of the games has been close. The losing streak has been punctuated by a blowout loss to the Miami Heat at home in LeBron's return. The Cavs have fallen to 7-14 after a decent start, and are led by Mo Williams who comes in scoring 14.7 points a game. They also come in 27th in scoring at 94.3 points a game and are ranked 19th in points allowed at 102.4 per game. The Cavs are really struggling to find an identity sans LeBron, which means this game should be an easy one if the Bulls can keep the Cavs crowd out of it.
This does have all the makings of a trap game as the Cavs have been struggling on the road and return home for this game before departing again. The Bulls, fresh off of a win over the Thunder, could be looking forward to a showdown with the Lake Show on Friday night. The Bulls need to start fast, and eliminate the crowd early on. Pound it in to Boozer early against a mismatch inside and then allow Rose to go to work against the Cavs' overmatched guards is the recipe for a nice momentum building win for the Bulls.
The enemy is Fear The Sword, so go talk smack if you wish. But don't be too mean, I'm pretty sure they can't handle much more agony at this point. The game is at 6:00 PM on CSN-Chicago.