Chicago- The Cleveland Cavaliers travel to Chicago Saturday night for a date with division rival the Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers are expected to use their fifth different starting line-up of the season, as the Cavs are currently down four starters. It was announced Friday evening that forward Cedi Osman would join his fellow Cavaliers on the injured list, Osman joins Kevin Love, Sam Dekker, George Hill. If head coach Larry Drew’s job wasn’t difficult enough, the injuries certainly has, as the Cavs continue to search for answers.
Injuries happen to every team over the course of the 82 NBA game season, but both the Bulls and Cavs have seemed to be bite by the injury bug a lot already this year. Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said on Friday they currently have 11 bodies, and a that few spots up for grabs in the rotation. As it is believed that Ryan Arcidiacono will get the start over Cameron Payne on Saturday, Arcidiacono got first team reps on Friday as the Bulls try and deal with their own injuries. The Bulls also are trying to figure out who their backup center is, like Cleveland the Bulls have four rotation players out with injuries. The Bulls are a roster that has talent sprinkled throughout, but without Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis, and Denzel Valentine Saturday’s game is winnable game for Cleveland.
The season is still young, but it appears both of these teams are bound for the NBA lottery, a place neither of these organizations wants to be. Cleveland and Chicago both held lottery selections in last summer’s NBA draft, where the Bulls drafted rookie center Wendell Carter Jr, while the Cavaliers of course drafted Collin Sexton. Carter Jr has shown signs of promise early on this season, averaging nearly three assists (2.5) from the center position, while also adding (11.6pts) and (7.9rbds) per game this season. Carter Jr was not the most talked about center in the draft, but a strong performance in the summer league, and again early on this season and the league has begun to take notice.
Collin Sexton on the other has had a rather rocky start to his NBA career, but for reasons he can control and for things out of his control. The most important thing about Sexton though is he’s only played 11 games in his NBA career, making just his second start on Saturday. Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew was very pleased with his rookie point guard following a loss to the Thunder on Wednesday, ” I really thought when I heard that George wasn’t going to play and Collin would be starting, I told my coaches that this is going to be a really good test for him. I think he passed the test, I really do. I thought he played with a lot of vengeance, he was in attack mode and he wasn’t afraid to take the shot. Defensively, he has to get better particularly against quick guys.”
While Sexton has time to improve both offensively and defensively, Saturday night will be another great test as he tries to stop Zach LaVine. The Bull point guard is capable of lighting it up from anywhere on the floor, LaVine is fourth (27.4ppg) in the league in scoring so far this season. As great of a scorer as LaVine is, he is not your traditional point guard and is prone to turning the ball over, on the season LaVine has (46 assists) and (48 turnovers.) If the Cavaliers guards are able to do a good job in the passing lanes Saturday, they could get some easy buckets in transition.
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
- Collin Sexton
- Tristan Thompson
- Jr Smith
- Rodney Hood
- Larry Nance Jr
- Zach LaVine
- Jabari Parker
- Wendell Carter Jr
- Justin Holiday
- Ryan Arcidiacono
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