The CLEVELAND and the CHICAGO will both be gunning for a victory on 12/4/2017 at 8:05 PM when they meet in a game matchup.
CLEVELAND vs CHICAGO
When: 8:00 PM ET, Monday, December 4, 2017
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FS Ohio (Cleveland), WGN (Chicago)
PREDICTION: Cavaliers 115, Bulls 103
Oddsmakers currently have the CHICAGO listed as point favorites versus the CLEVELAND, while the game’s total is sitting at .
CHICAGO — The Cleveland Cavaliers have won 11 straight games. The Chicago Bulls have dropped their last eight.
The Cavaliers have jelled their talent-heavy roster together while the young Bulls are inching closer to becoming completely healthy for the first time this season.
And while the Bulls (3-18) look to win for the first time since Nov. 17, they will have to deal with a confident Cleveland team that again relied on LeBron James to keep its winning streak intact.
ABOUT THE BULLS (3-18): Chicago dealt with a rough back-to-back at Denver on Thursday and home against the Sacramento Kings on Friday and came within a basket of winning each. “The biggest thing is to keep taking positive steps,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters. “I thought we really competed, especially (Friday), go into Denver and a tough back to back. I thought the guys went out with the right mentality. … The biggest thing moving forward is keeping it positive with them and trying to make winning plays down the stretch, which we have not done the last two nights.” Rookie power forward Lauri Markkanen is trying to stay positive while battling through a slump that has him shooting 29.9 percent from the floor over the last seven games.
James scored Cleveland’s final 13 points in a 116-111 victory over Memphis on Saturday and the Cavaliers moved to within two victories of tying their franchise record for consecutive wins.
With his team rolling, coach Tyronn Lue said on Saturday that opponents are making strategic moves to try and slow Cleveland down. The Cavaliers will enter Monday’s game against the Bulls as one of the NBA’s top scoring teams at 111.4 points per game, paced by James, who finished with 34 points against Memphis.
And while James has plenty of talent around him, Lue said that opponents — including the Grizzlies on Saturday — “junked the game up” by using bigger players to defend Cleveland’s smaller players in an attempt to throw the Cavaliers off their game.
“You can try anything when you’re trying to win,” Lue said on Saturday, according to Cleveland.com. “When you’re trying to get a win, you just try different things.”
The Bulls haven’t had much luck this season, especially of late when Chicago came up short late in the fourth quarter in a pair of one-point losses to Denver and Sacramento. Against the Nuggets on Thursday night, the Bulls blew an 18-point lead in a loss before they returned home on Friday and couldn’t execute late in a 107-106 loss to the Kings.
Chicago is expected to get Nikola Mirotic back this week after he has been out with facial fractures and a concussion sustained in a fight in practice with teammate Bobby Portis. Mirotic won’t play Monday against the Cavaliers and the Bulls could also be without Portis, who missed Friday’s game with an arm contusion. Guard Zach LaVine also remains out as he recovers from a torn ACL.
Although the Bulls have found ways to remain competitive as they heal up, they have struggled with dropping their heads when they face adversity. Coach Fred Hoiberg has attempted to keep his players’ minds off the losing streak, especially this early in what is expected to be a multi-year rebuild.
“That’s the thing we talk about all the time,” Hoiberg said Friday. “It’s not about looking at wins and losses. It’s about taking steps in the right direction every day.”
The Cavaliers, meanwhile, appear to be taking steps toward having veteran guard — and former Bulls star — Derrick Rose return to the team. Rose left the Cavaliers just before Thanksgiving to consider his future.
ABOUT THE CAVALIERS (16-7): James thought he would have some help this season in the fourth quarter from former MVP Derrick Rose, who remains away from the team pondering his future while dealing with a sprained ankle. Rose sat out the last 12 games but reportedly has recently had positive dialogue with the organization. “Whenever he’s ready to tell us or whatever, we’re ready for that,” James told ESPN.com prior to Saturday’s win. “You don’t ever fast-track someone’s process of what they may be going through. When they’re ready to talk about it or ready to bring it to the forefront, as his teammates, we’ll be ready for it.”
Published reports have indicated that Rose has grown weary of having to deal with injuries — the latest of which forced him out of the lineup on Nov. 9 due to complications to an ankle sprain.
But Cavaliers officials said Saturday they have had positive communications with Rose and indicated it may just be a matter of time before Rose could return.
“Whenever he’s ready to tell us or whatever, we’re ready for that,” James said, according to Cleveland.com. “You don’t ever fast-track someone’s process of what they may be going through. When they’re ready to talk about it or ready to bring it to the forefront, as his teammates we’ll be ready for it.”
1. Bulls F Bobby Portis (arm) sat out Friday and is questionable for Monday.
2. Cavaliers PF Kevin Love recorded seven double-doubles during the 11-game winning streak.
3. Cleveland snapped a five-game losing streak in the series with a 119-112 home win on Oct. 24 behind 34 points and 13 assists from James.