Chicago (29-29) at Cleveland (40-16)
When: Saturday, February 25th 2017
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 8:35 ET | TV: ABC
The Chicago Bulls look to continue their dominance of the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers when they visit Quicken Loans Arena on ABC’s Saturday night contest. The Bulls have take the first two games from Cleveland this season and 20 of the last 26 overall. Chicago rallied to force overtime before defeating Phoenix 128-121 last night thanks to star Jimmy Butler, who was rumored to be dealt at the trade deadline, but is now staying put. He had just 10 points with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter before hitting a huge 3-pointer and a short jumper to help force OT, during which he added seven more points to finish with 22. Anthony Morrow, Joffrey Lauvergne and Cameron Payne – all acquired in a deadline deal with Oklahoma City – did not play Friday, although Morrow and Lauvergne were in uniform. Chicago is looking to win four in a row for the first time since mid-November and will look for their fourth consecutive victory in the series as well.
Cleveland opened the second half at home with a 119-104 victory over New York on Thursday led by LeBron James’ 48th career triple-double (18 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds). Cleveland has won four in a row overall to open a four game lead over Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. While Cleveland was quiet at the trade deadline, it expects to get back veteran starters Kevin Love (knee) and J.R. Smith (thumb) in time for the playoffs, so the team will continue to rely on James and Kyrie Irving heavily. Reserve shooting guard Kyle Korver has hit 12-of-18 3-pointers while averaging 21 points in his last two games. The Cavaliers are rumored to be interested in point guard Deron Williams, who was waived by Dallas this week and eventually could sign with Cleveland, according to reports. Irving scored 23 points versus New York and has recorded at least that many in seven straight games. Cleveland will wrap-up it’s four game homestand with a visit from the Bucks on Monday.
Cleveland is not the same team without Love and Smith right now and Chicago always plays the Cavs hard. Double-digits is a lot to lay in this situation and Chicago has covered the last four trips to Cleveland. I’ll take the points.
Pick: Bulls +11
HEAD TO HEAD
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