The Bulls have won just three of their previous nine and are averaging a paltry 87.6 points in the process. But the Cavs always seem to offer a solution, as the Bulls have beaten them 11 straight, and are basically a matchup nightmare. Worse, the Cavs will be without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, out with a sore right knee.
Venue: United Center, Chicago.
TV/Radio: 7:30 p.m. EST, FOX Sports Ohio/WTAM
All-Time Series: Bulls lead, 111-79.
CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (18-38) C Tyler Zeller PF Tristan Thompson SF Alonzo Gee SG Dion Waiters PG Shaun Livingston
CHICAGO BULLS (32-24) C Joakim Noah PF Carlos Boozer SF Luol Deng SG Richard Hamilton PG Nate Robinson
• Bulls starting PG Kirk Hinrich (elbow) is a game-time decision.
• Not that it matters now, but in the 34 minutes in which Hinrich has been on the floor vs. the Cavs this year, Irving is just 4-for-15 shooting with six turnovers.
• The Cavs don’t just lose to the Bulls, they do it badly. In four of the previous five matchups, the Cavs have lost by at least 20 points.
• While the Bulls as a team have struggled, reserve forward Jimmy Butler is surging. Over the last 19 games, he’s averaging 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds off the bench.
• Deng leads the NBA in minutes per game (39.0).
• The Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau is the only coach in NBA history to finish with the league’s best record in each of his first two seasons. He also is the coach to reach 100 wins the fastest (March 19, 2012).