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Chicago Bulls vs. Cleveland Cavaliers: Preview, Injury Report, and Game Thread

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Bulls are no better than the Cavs right now

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NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls (1-3) at Cleveland Cavaliers (1-2)

6 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago

Injury report

Add another random injury to the tab for Wendell Carter Jr, whose thumb sprain is still actually listed on the injury report as well:

The Bulls are apparently monitoring Otto Porter Jr.’s hip, but he claims he’s fine.

For the Cavaliers, John Henson (hamstring), Ante Zizic (plantar fasciitis) and rookie Dylan Windler (stress reaction in leg) are all out.

Preview

I’ve been throwing out a sentence that goes something along the lines of “[insert crappy Bulls opponent here] is one of the five worst teams in the league” frequently in the previews so far this season.

This is because the Bulls’ schedule to start the season has been bean-bag-chair soft to start the season. There’s a very compelling argument that the Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, and tonight’s opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are all “one of the five worst teams in the league.”

And by pointing this out, the implication was that the Bulls should take care of business and collect a “W” against each of these teams. It hasn’t quite worked out like that, as it’s actually the Chicago Bulls playing like one of the five worst teams in the league right now.

So, I’m not going to talk down to the Cavaliers and act like the Bulls are better. Frankly, Chicago hasn’t earned the right to be considered a better team than anybody. For tonight, Joakim Noah is wrong and we aren’t going to say Cleveland sucks.

However, it’s undeniable that since LeBron James ditched the Cavaliers for greener pastures out on the West Coast in Los Angeles, Cleveland has had a rough go at it. They won 19 games last year, their lowest output since the 2010-2011 season and tied for their fifth-fewest wins in franchise history.

Kevin Love has put on a good face about being in Cleveland, but you have to wonder if he truly wants to be there (he did just sign a contract extension). He’s 31 years old, probably on the back end of his career in terms of his production, and is under contract in Cleveland through the 2022-2023 season. Will the Cavaliers turn it around by then?

If you don’t obsessively follow the NBA and watch all the games on League Pass, would you have been able to guess that Tristan Thompson is the Cavs’ leading scorer so far this season? He’s putting up 19.3 points per game even though he has never averaged over 11.7 for any other single season of his career. We’ll see how long this keeps up.

Between Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, the Cavaliers have some legitimate talent in the backcourt under new head coach John Beilein, who was known for stellar backcourts at Michigan.

Meanwhile, the Bulls’ season couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start, unless of course they lost that Grizzlies game as well. They look poorly coached defensively and have shot the ball poorly, while also looking lost on both ends during crunch time. Otto Porter Jr. is playing like he has aged 10 years since last season. Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine were supposed to take huge steps forward this season, but both have been “meh” at best.

The Bulls don’t really have much going for them besides the fact that there haven’t been major injuries yet (aggressively knocking on wood). It sucks that the season already feels hopeless and the Bulls look defeated four games in, but there’s obviously still plenty of time to turn this around.

Wednesday night in Cleveland is a great opportunity to do just that.

Random Stat

The Bulls shot the ball pretty poorly from deep in the preseason. 32.5 percent to be exact.

Somehow, the Bulls have found a way to stoop to a new low in the regular season. They’ve shot 27.5 percent from 3-point land, which is the second-worst percentage in the NBA.

Quote

I think we’re all calling bullcrap on this Bobby Portis quote:

Tweet You Need To See

Ouch. Try not to cringe:

The good news is Trae isn’t expected to miss much time. Notably, the Bulls play the Hawks next Wednesday. Young might be back in time for that game.