The Bulls try to avoid their fourth loss in five games when they visit the Cavaliers. The Bulls lost 107-99 at home against the red-hot Hawks on Saturday despite 23 points and 10 assists from Derrick Rose, who is averaging 25.5 points and 8.0 assists over his last four games. The problem for the Bulls has been that Jimmy Butler has topped the 20-point mark just once since January 7 and that Joakim Noah remains sidelined with an ankle injury.
Chicago ranked in the upper half of the league with 98.8 points allowed per game through the season’s first 35 contests but they have surrendered 103.1 points on a league-worst 49.6 field goal percentage over the last seven games. The Bulls have won seven of their last eight games in Cleveland.
After falling below .500 with a six-game losing streak, the Cavaliers made the most of a two-game stint in Los Angeles, beating the Lakers and Clippers on consecutive nights. The Cavs shot better than 46 percent in each win, something they had not accomplished since December 23. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving combined for 69 points in Friday’s 126-121 win against the Clippers, leading the team to their highest offensive output since November 15.
James is averaging 33.7 points on 52.3 percent shooting and 7.7 rebounds since returning from injury on January 13. He played well in the first meeting between these two teams this season, scoring 36 points in a 114-108 overtime road win on October 31. James hasn’t always been successful against the Bulls, who have beaten him in eight of their last 14 regular season meetings.
Kevin Love is questionable against the Bulls after missing Friday’s contest with back spasms. Tristan Thompson stepped up as Love’s replacement by scoring a season-high 24 points on 10 of 12 from the field with 12 rebounds.
NBA release 01/19/2015
Bulls vs Cavaliers