The Cleveland Cavaliers will be back at home for the seventh time this season, as the Chicago Bulls will be making their second trip to Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and coverage for the game will start at 7:30 on the Fox Sports Ohio network and WTAM 1100. This will be the 19th game of the season, meaning that the Cavs are almost at the quarter mark of the 2012-13 NBA season. Here are some statistics to pay attention to going into tonight’s contest:
Cavaliers (4-14, 2-4 home)
Offensive Efficiency – 98.6 (23rd)
Pace – 95.1 (11th)
Turnover Ratio – 14.5 (18th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage – 46.5 (25th)
Defensive Efficiency – 106.5 (29th)
Average Points – 95.9 (21st)
Average Rebounds – 42.7 (11th)
Average Assists – 19.9 (26th)
Average Points Allowed – 101.2 (25th)
Bulls (8-8, 3-3 away)
Offensive Efficiency – 99.0 (22nd)
Pace – 93.7 (24th)
Turnover Ratio – 14.8 (26th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage – 46.2 (27th)
Defensive Efficiency – 96.6 (3rd)
Average Points – 93.3 (24th)
Average Rebounds – 44.2 (7th)
Average Assists – 22.8 (6th)
Average Points Allowed – 91.3 (3rd)
The Cavaliers will again be without their rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters, as he is still nursing a sprained left ankle. After missing the prior game against the Detroit Pistons, a road loss in which the Cavs took on an early big deficit, Omri Casspi filled into the starting lineup at the three while Alonzo Gee moved to the two. Casspi will no longer get the start, as he reasoned to put the small forward in the lineup due to the height that a team like the Pistons bring to the table. Byron Scott will instead go with Daniel Gibson against the Bulls, who aren’t much smaller than the Pistons.
Still, the Bulls will be making their second trip of the season to the Q. The first matchup between the two squads didn’t go as well as the Cavs would have liked following their season opening win. Cleveland lost 115-86, but they are a much different team this time around. That may work to the advantage of the Cavaliers, as last time around Anderson Varejao only finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Even Chicago center Joakim Noah struggled, finishing with 10 points and five boards of his own. Varejao is on a much different level right now, as he has recorded a double-double in each of the past nine games. He has also managed at least 15 rebounds in each of those matchups. Noah, who many players close to him think he is the Eastern Conference’s best big man, is currently averaging 13.0 points and 9.8 rebounds.
One difference that may or may not work to Cleveland’s advantage is the change in the backcourt. Jeremy Pargo, who has filled in quite nicely for the injured Kyrie Irving, and Gibson is an interesting duo that may click together and become big role players on the bench once the injured starters return. Irving may have the toughest time on offense when Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich is guarding him, so maybe Pargo will be able to find something that works for him against the pesky Hinrich.
With their vast supply of role players, the Bulls haven’t been able to click on offense and have been able to win most of their games with tough defense. That was most likely to happen without their best offensive producer in Derrick Rose. That scares me because the Cavaliers allowed 115 points, which is also Chicago’s largest total this season. Limiting bench players like Nate Robinson and Taj Gibson will be key for a team that will be playing with a small bench.
The Cavaliers couldn’t hang with the Pistons, but that may have been due to the horrid road schedule Cleveland has faced thus far. Save for the first Chicago game and a contest with the Phoenix Suns, the Cavs have played teams tough at home. Capitalizing off the collective 43.8 percent that the Bulls shoot from the field with good rebounding will make this game enjoyable to watch.