CLE at CHI
Time: 8:05 PM ET
Spread: CHi -3.5
Betting odds courtesy of Bovada
LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their home opener 95-90 to the New York Knicks and will face the Chicago Bulls in the second game of a back-to-back. Chicago has welcomed Derrick Rose back into the fold and the Bulls are 3.5-point favorites in the affair.
The Bulls demolished the Knicks on opening night, 104-80, and have had a day to rest up for this game, which could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds in his debut with the Bulls, and Tom Thibodeau has eased Derrick Rose back into it, giving him 21 minutes in a blowout. Rose was 3-of-7 from the floor for 13 points and he also picked up five dimes. Functioning well with Kirk Hinrich in the backcourt, the Bulls seem primed for another run after finishing with the best record in the East two seasons straight before Rose’s ACL injury.
Despite losing last night, the Cavs placed all five scorers in double-figures, paced by Kyrie Irving’s 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting. But the Cavs shot just 37.5 percent as a team and only got 12 points from the bench, comparative to the Knicks’ 41 points.
The Cavs, as most teams do, had trouble containing Carmelo Anthony, who scored 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The Cavs will have an answer for Gasol tonight, but not a great one.
Kevin Love is an average defender at best, and Gasol is one of the most skilled big men in the NBA. Chicago will need a strong performance from its backcourt to emerge as they are favored to in NBA odds. With Kyrie Irving and an improved and focused Dion Waiters, there will be plenty of table setting for LBJ, Love and Anderson Varejao.