[thanks to another first timer for today's game preview. Lots of second-half spots open -yfbb]
Coming off a disappointing stretch of four straight losses and having not played in eight days, the Chicago Bulls travel to Cleveland tonight needing a win to start the second half of the season on a higher note despite losing five of the last six.
The Bulls enter Quicken Loans Arena plagued with injuries to key players,Nikola Mirotic, Joakim Noah and guard, Jimmy Butler, who is still sidelined (knee strain) until early March. Known for his sticky defense and ability to guard the opponent's best player, the Bulls will miss Butler up against a hot Cleveland Cavaliers team, winning eight of the last 10 games since the loss to the Bulls in Coach Tyronn Lue's debut Jan. 23.
The Bulls have the season edgee over the Cavaliers at 2-0 for the season. Lebron James and the Cavaliers return from the break situated in first place in the Eastern conference, three games ahead of Toronto. James is averaging 25 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 6.5 assists for Cleveland, while playing through the dismissal of former coach David Blatt, team continuity questions, and the recent rumors surrounding Kevin Love.
The Cavaliers did make a deal on deadline day, acquiring Channing Frye from Orlando. Frye obviously won't be in uniform, and outgoing players Anderson Varejao and Jared Cunningham won't either. Similarly for the Bulls, no Kirk Hinrich.
The Bulls and Cavaliers face off tonight with tip-off scheduled at 8 p.m. ET and the game broadcasted live on TNT.