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Bulls vs. Cavs Preview and Open Thread

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MLK Matinee

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (10-36) at Cleveland Cavaliers (9-38)

GameTime: Noon

Channel: NBC Sports Chicago

Injury Report:

Wendell Carter Jr. will go under the knife on Monday to repair damage to his left thumb. He’ll likely miss the remainder of the season as a result.

For the Cavs, in addition to guys who have been out for a while like Kevin Love and J.R. Smith, Larry Nance Jr. just underwent knee surgery, and for today’s game Tristan Thompson and old friend David Nwaba are also out.

I think that leaves Cleveland with 10 active guys, plus 2 two-way players if they’re with the big club, and one of the 10 is Cameron Payne. He’s actually found a home in Cleveland for now. In 17.6 minutes per game, he’s averaged 7.6 points on over 50 percent shooting from the field while posting an over 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The Last Time:

Of course, two of the Bulls 10 victories this season have come against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Way back on Nov. 10, Jabari Parker had a game-saving block and Ryan Arcidiacono supplemented Zach LaVine’s 24 points with a 15-point effort of his own (6-for-8 from the field) to help the Bulls edge the Cavaliers 99-98.

The Dec. 23 matchup saved fans all the nail biting. Behind 31 points from Lauri Markkanen, the Chicago Bulls notched their first back-to-back wins of the season with a 112-92 victory against Cleveland. This was smack in the middle of a stretch where the Bulls won three of four games as well. Seems like another season ago.

Preview:

The Chicago Bulls versus the Cleveland Cavaliers obviously isn’t the premier matchup of today’s MLK holiday. The two teams have lost a combined 13 games in a row [the Cavaliers have lost 15 of their last 16 but that one win came last Sunday] and the two teams have the two sorriest records in the association.

Obviously, it could have draft lottery ball implications come the spring. The Bulls still haven’t won in 2019 which isn’t a cheesy, stupid joke to make anymore.

If you are into pretty offense or even stout defense, avert your eyes.

Since getting removed from exile, Jabari Parker has quietly played much better [13.8 points per game on 60.6 percent from the field and 4.5 rebounds per game] and the eye test suggests he’s playing harder than he did pre-exile. With the trade deadline creeping up on Feb. 7, this is good news for the Bulls.

Conversely, 24-year-old point guard Kris Dunn’s game has been in the gutter recently. In the last five games, he’s shot 28.6 percent from the field although he still has some value as a playmaker, averaging 5.0 assists in that span to just 2.2 turnovers.

No word yet on who is starting in place of WCJ, first game it was Bobby Portis and last game it was Robin Lopez.