NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, February 26th (All times Eastern)
Cleveland Cavaliers (18-38) at Chicago Bulls (32-24), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Bulls have endured some awful shooting nights, but nothing was worse their last time out.
The Bulls hope to make some shots fall when they open a three-game homestand Monday versus the Cleveland Cavaliers at the United Center. In a 102-72 road loss to Oklahoma City on Sunday, the Bulls never scored more than 20 points in a quarter and shot 29.1 percent -- the worst in the NBA this season.
Luol Deng and Nate Robinson were the only Chicago players to score in double digits and both ended with 13 points. The Bulls made only 25-of-86 shots and had 18 turnovers for 25 OKC points.
"It was bad tonight," said Bulls All-Star forward Joakim Noah, who had eight points and nine rebounds. "We took steps backward. That's what's frustrating. There's really no excuse. We've just got to bounce back ASAP. The way we competed was embarrassing. It's not the time to feel sorry for ourselves. We've got a home stretch coming up and things move fast in this league. We've got to bounce back fast."
In three of their last five games, the Bulls have scored 67, 69 and 72 points. The franchise record for inept shooting for Chicago is 23.4 percent, which was established back in 1999 against Miami.
The Bulls have lost six of nine games and will also welcome Philadelphia and Brooklyn to town on the homestand. They are 15-13 at the United Center this season. For how poorly the Bulls are offensively (92.5 ppg), they are one of the top defensive teams, allowing just 91.3 ppg. Chicago is three games behind Indiana for the Central lead. The Pacers will host Golden State Tuesday.
On the injury landscape for the Bulls, guard Kirk Hinrich (elbow) has missed three straight and 10 of 11 games, and is doubtful for Tuesday. Hinrich is averaging 7.0 points and 5.3 assists this season. Forward Taj Gibson suffered left the Thunder game with a knee strain in the fourth quarter and is also listed as doubtful versus the Cavs.
Chicago had the best shooting percentage by a team this season with a 63.8 percent clip against Cleveland back in November.
The Cavs shot 50 percent against the Heat on Sunday, but dropped a close 109-105 decision. Miami, which made 52 percent from the floor, almost blew a 22-point lead and rallied from eight points down in the fourth quarter. Shane Battier's 3-pointer made it 103-101 and Miami held on for the win. Dwyane Wade scored 15 of his 24 points in the final stanza.
Cavs rookie Dion Waiters led the team with 26 points, Kyrie Irving added 17 and five assists and C.J. Miles came off the bench to score 19 points for the Cavaliers, who are 1-1 on a three-game road trip that concludes Tuesday. The Cavs also fell to 8-22 away from home.
"We had an opportunity against the NBA world champions and we lost the game because of mental mistakes," Cavs coach Byron Scott said.
Irving won't play against the Bulls on Tuesday with a sore/hyperextended right knee. He is listed as day-to-day.
The Cavs were without Daniel Gibson (personal) and Omri Casspi, who remained hospitalized in Orlando after surgery to remove his appendix. Gibson is doubtful against the Bulls and Casspi is out indefinitely.
After visiting the Windy City, Cleveland will return home for five straight games, starting with Wednesday's tilt versus Toronto.
Chicago is aiming for its third straight series sweep of Cleveland after taking the first three meetings of the season. The Bulls have won 11 in a row and 13 of the past 15 games with the Cavs, losers in five straight matchups at the United Center.
02/26 12:18:08 ET