On the Bulls:
Since last month, Chicago has lost Ty Thomas, Jannero Pargo, and Kirk Hinrich to injury. But the team has also been consistently strong on defense, and Taj Gibson is getting more comfortable in his role in the lineup. Derrick Rose, meanwhile, is slowly awakening from his bum-ankle-induced slumber, and looks poised to be a threat tonight.
On the Cavs:
The key to winning this game tonight will be the same as what won their last two games: defense. The Cavs need to play great defense for the entire game. All four quarters. They let up a bit in the 2nd half against Phoenix, but having a 28 point cushion will allow you to ease up on D.
Look for Mike Brown to try two lineup types tonight:
1) The lineup that consists of people who can dish the ball to Shaq for an easy bucket.
2) The super-stretchy athletic lineup. This lineup will be smaller, and will probably see Moon get a lot of playing time. Which means we'll also be treated to one or more LeBron-Jamario alley-oops.
Probable Starting Lineups:
|PG||Derrick Rose||Mo Williams|
|SG||John Salmons||Anthony Parker|
|SF||Luol Deng||LeBron James|
|PF||Taj Gibson||JJ Hickson|
|C||Joakim Noah||Shaquille O'Neal|
Cody Norman of KingJamesGosepl.com was nice enough to stop by here at StepienRules and provide us with a GuestBlogger's Preview of tonight's Cavaliers - Bulls Game. We appreciate Cody stopping by, and his preview is as follows:
By Cody Norman - KingJamesGospel.com:
Take Two: Cavs, Bulls Face Off on ESPN
With just seconds left on the clock, King James took the ball to the hoop and seemed to have gotten mauled by Joakim Noah (among others) but no foul was called and the Cavs dropped to an even 3-3 on the young 2009-10 season.
As winners in five of their last six contest, the Wine and Gold will seek revenge on Friday night against Noah and the Chicago Bulls. Cleveland comes off an impressive 107-90 victory on Wednesday night over the Phoenix Suns. Ten Cavaliers scored in the contest, seven of whom posted double-digits in the scoring column.
The Cavs dynamic duo of LeBron James and Mo Williams provide over 45 points of offense per game. Through the first eighteen games of the season, the King has posted a 51.8% field goal percentage while tallying over 500 points in the early going. In the first game of this series, the Cleveland bench was inconsistent and unproductive but has stepped up their input as of late. Strong play from Jamario Moon, Boobie Gibson, Delonte West, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas has lifted the Cavs to their current 13-5 record. Prized free agent acquisition Anthony Parker is among the league’s leaders in three-point percentage, canning over half of his attempts in the early going.
Chicago has struggled through the first portion of the 2009-10 campaign posting a 7-9 record through their first 16 games. After going 5-8 in the month of November, the Bulls stole their first December game against Detroit on Wednesday with a 92-85 victory in Chicago. Luol Deng leads the team with just over 18 points per game to compliment his 8.5 rebound average and sophomore point guard Derrick Rose adds a team-high 5.3 assists per contest.
What to look for:In the first game of this season series,
On this Friday during Jimmy V week, I just wanted to take a brief moment to pay tribute to the late great Jim Valvano, and the tremendous foundation that bears his name, while carrying on his legacy. This speech he gave back in 1993 was the greatest speech I had ever heard when I was a kid, first watching him give it during the ESPY Awards that year. And now, 16 years later, its still the greatest speech I have ever heard. Every year, during this week, we are reminded of it, and everytime I watch it I cry. And if by chance his words move you to tears today, take then a moment to think, and then a moment to laugh as well.
If you want to contribute to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, click here.no comments
The following is a list of links from around the web that I found intersting enough to suggest that you click on:
In case you didn't hear, Ron-Ron used to drink Henney at halftime - Ball Don't Lie, J.E. Skeets
With a tearful A.I. set to rejoin the Sixers, a rewind back to early days of Iverson - The Hoop Doctors, Allen Moll
An update on Cavalier 1st round pick Christian Eyenga, and free agent signee Leon Powe - Waiting For Next Year, Scott
Want to know which NBAer is getting his weak stuff sent outta hear with the highest frequency? - Hardwood Paroxysm, Matt Moore
21 Questions with San Dova...Nets as LBJ suitors, Mike Brown going small - Slam Online, Sandy Dover
Interesting new site chronicling those b-ballers playing on the fringe of NBA success - D-League Digest, Steve Weinman
And lastly...LeBron made a full-court shot in practice with a football - youtube:
On throwback night - honoring the 1988-89 Cavaliers - the Cavs dressed up like members of an 80s hairband for the pregame intros, for some reason. Zydrunas Ilgauskas, looking more like Marilyn Manson, entered the game in the first quarter, and set the all-time mark for games played as a Cavalier. Congrats to Big Z, 14 points 6 rebounds on the night.
No Cavaliers scored more than 14, 7 got into double figures, and the defense held the Suns to 90 points. Great effort all around. Now back to the pictures. LeBron looks kinda scary.
Andy looked like he needed an undershirt.
Mo Williams looked kinda like he could have been an 80s rocker.
Parker looked smooth, despite the wearing women's sunglasses. He shot it well again tonight too, 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting.
Shaq, while disappointing in the pregame picture (jersey and shark teeth?) did not disappoint in the actual game. He completely dominated the Suns in the early going, forced them out of their man to man, and it was a free-for-all from the perimeter from there, shooting over a Phoenix zone that would have made Jim Boeheim physically ill.
Coby Karl did not get in, but made one helluva an appearance in the pregame, as you can see.
Boobie looks more like Bobby Brown, and played well tonight. Nice 'high hand-off' to LBJ in the 3rd.
Cavs move to 13-5.
Is it possible Mike Brown just didn't feel like having a party the other night?
Sure, he didn't need to do Z like that, but before we press onto the Phoenix Suns tonight at the Q, lets look at the possible Mavericks pregame thought process from Coach Brown's perspective:
1. His team was just embarrassed by the Charlotte Bobcats.
2. The Cavaliers were 11-5 after (16) with an 'improved roster' this season.
3. The Cavs were 13-3 last year.
4. Opponents FG% is up this year as opposed to last.
5. Opponents PPG is up this year as opposed to last.
6. Prior to Saturday, Shaq didn't look like he was meshing all that well in the rotation.
7. Prior to Saturday, Delonte was kinda like a major elephant in the room type problem.
Oh and by the way, Z - the guy chose not to play - hasn't really done much this year to prove that he can contribute. Sorry. So you're Mike Brown, and you don't feel like throwing a party in the beginning of a game you had to have. Can't say I blame the Coach for that. And if the players wanted to give Z his do Saturday, well maybe they shouldn't have all 'not shown up' against Charlotte on Friday. If that had happened, maybe then they're coach would have been in a more festive mood on Saturday.
Suns - Cavs Preview...Motivation for Shaq?
There are a lot of reasons why Delonte West is cool. Not the least of which is the fact that he took a minute to take a picture with my little cousin this past weekend during a Black Friday shopping trip to Best Buy. Appreciate that D-West!
Speaking of cool, LeBron James let it be known that he wasn't cool with Mike Brown's decision to give Z a DNP on the night he was scheduled to break Danny Ferry's record for games played on Saturday. Conspiracy theories abound as to whether this was a directive coming from Ferry himself in an attempt to preserve his record. Just kidding.
LeBron's quotes are below - via the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mary Schmitt Boyer:"Me personally, I definitely thought he should have played. I'm not trying to stir up anything with coach or the organization. I don't know who made the call. But sometimes one game is a smaller thing. What was on the line the day before yesterday was way bigger than us playing the Mavericks, and that was Z breaking the record to become the franchise leader in games played. I stand behind Z and whatever Z feels at this point in time, I definitely -- if I was in control of it -- would have put him in, probably would have started him. You could have easily started him and subbed him right out and had the standing ovation from the fans with a timeout. If you didn't want to play him, there were a lot of ways for that accomplishment to be accomplished...As a friend of his, I was very upset, and I know he was also."
This time its a good one. Coming into Saturday night's game with the Mavericks, Delonte West had appeared in 8 games this season, and in those games he wasn't really all that productive. West had totaled 11 turnovers in 17 mpg of action, while averaging 4.2 points, 2.3 assists during those appearances. Against Dallas, Delonte didn't turn it over at all, and was a huge spark off the bench while scoring 10 points, dishing out 10 assists, and grabbing 4 rebounds in 28 minutes of playing time. Put simply, if he keeps this up, the Cavaliers are going to be a very good team.That said, the issue that arises - albeit a good one - for Mike Brown is minutes. Specifically, if more playing time is to come for West, they will be at the expense of Daniel Gibson, who hasn't done all that much this season to 'lose' playing time. Daniel's issues in season's past have been his consistency; he's shown up beyond huge at times, and at other times he hasn't shown up at all. However, thus far this season, Boobie has demonstrated the ability to be a legit weapon off the bench, who can be counted on nightly.