A pair of Central Division teams take the floor on the shores of Lake Erie looking for a win. The Chicago Bulls are on the road as they travel to face the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night. Chicago was in action at home against Sacramento on Friday night, taking a 98-81 defeat in the process. Cleveland was at home on Thursday night against Washington and came up on the short end of a 124-112 decision. The Bulls lead the all-time regular season series between the teams 126-91. This season, the teams split two meetings with Chicago scratching out a 118-116 home win in the most recent contest on January 18.
Chicago Bulls Trying to Climb Eastern Conference LeaderChicago has alternated wins and losses in their last six games as they knocked off Minnesota in their last contest. The Bulls entered Friday fourth in the Central Division, 22.5 games behind the Bucks for the top spot. Chicago stands 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, 2.5 games behind the Nets for the final playoff spot. The Bulls are 7-15 on the road this season. In those games, Chicago averages 106.3 points per game while allowing 109.5 points a night. The Bulls are a surprising 5-2 in the second game of a back to back and outscore the opposition by 1.4 points per game. Chicago stands 5-7 against Central Division teams and have been outscored by an average of 3.1 points per game.
Last two minutes of the game, tie ballgame, Zach LaVine gets the huge bucket. He scored 7 of the Bulls' last 9 points.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 23, 2020
He's an All Star.#BullsSocialNight | @att | @nbcschicago pic.twitter.com/mMhuPRMXku
The Bulls are 25th in the league in scoring offense this season with 105.9 points per game. Chicago is 26th in the league in rebounding with 42.7 boards a night while ranking 23rd with 22.7 assists per contest. The Bulls are above average defensively as they are 10th by allowing 107.9 points per contest. Zach LaVine leads the team with 25 points per game on the year. Lauri Markkanen (15 points, 6.5 rebounds) and Wendell Carter Jr. (11.7 points, 9.9 rebounds) are solid post presences. Coby White contributes 11.3 points a game as a rookie while Thaddeus Young (nine points) and Otto Porter Jr. (11.2 points) are good contributors. The Bulls need to get more production from Tomas Satoransky (9.8 points, 5.3 assists) and Kris Dunn from the point guard position. Chicago is 25th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 43.7 percent from the floor. The Bulls are tied for 10th in the league with 12.2 three-pointers a game and stand 19th by shooting 34.8 percent from beyond the arc. Porter Jr. is out for this contest with a foot injury and hopes to return around the All-Star break. Carter Jr. is out four to six weeks with a severe right ankle sprain he suffered January 6. Daniel Gafford suffered a dislocated thumb against Washington January 15 and is out two to four weeks. That pushes Cristiano Felicio, who has played limited minutes this season, into the mix.
Cleveland Cavaliers Looking for Division WinCleveland was unable to slow down the Wizards at home on Thursday night in a run and gun style of game. The Cavaliers entered Friday in the basement of the Central Division, 27 games behind the Bucks for the top spot. In the Eastern Conference playoff picture, Cleveland is tied for 13th in the standings, seven games behind the Nets for the final playoff spot. The Cavaliers led by 12 early but gave up a 10-0 run spanning the end of the first and the start of the second quarter to trail by 11. Cleveland didn’t get closer than four the rest of the way. The Cavaliers shot 45.8 percent from the field, including 11 of 33 from three-point range, but allowed Washington to shoot 55.3 percent in the game. Collin Sexton paced Cleveland with 29 points in the loss.
The Cavaliers are 27th in the league in scoring this season with 104.9 points per game. Cleveland is 20th in rebounding with 44.2 caroms a night while the team stands 28th with 21.5 assists per contest. The Cavaliers are below average defensively, ranking 23rd in scoring defense by allowing 114.1 points per game. Kevin Love is second on the team with 17.4 points, 10 rebounds and 2.9 assists per contest this year. Collin Sexton (team-high 19.3 points), Tristan Thompson (12.4 points, 10.4 rebounds) and Darius Garland (12.3 points) are scoring in double figures on the year. Larry Nance Jr. (8.4 points, seven rebounds), Cedi Osman (11 points), Dante Exum and Kevin Porter Jr. are key pieces of the rotation for the Cavaliers. Cleveland is 22nd in the league by shooting 45 percent from the field. The Cavaliers are 22nd in the league in made threes with 10.9 triples a night while ranking 24th in three-point shooting by shooting 34.3 percent from downtown. Porter Jr. is out four to six weeks with a knee injury that he sustained January 5 against the Timberwolves.
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