The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Illinois to open up the 2015-2016 season. These two teams share a long history with each other and this season, they will look to add more intense moments to their rivalry. The road to the title has now started and here are five things that you need to know about tonight’s game.
5 – LeBron James will be playing
After weeks of speculation on whether he will be ready for the opener, mainly due to his back, the team has announced that the four-time Most Valuable Player will suit up against Chicago. Although he’s present, how Coach David Blatt will handle his minutes remains to be seen, but the second-year coach has given hints that they will be cautious with their leader’s time on the floor.
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4. Derrick Rose will suit up
After taking a hit to his face during offseason practice, Derrick Rose suffered an orbital fracture and was required to undergo surgery. He has been fitted with a mask and has played in their final preseason game, which means all signs point to him starting against the Cavaliers in Chicago. But Rose is still having blurred visions and we will get to see how this holds him back while playing limited minutes.
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The Cavaliers are expected to start with Mo Williams, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Timofey Mozgov. On the other hand, the Bulls are about to feature Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler, and Derrick Rose. Joakim Noah will now be relegated to come off the bench and he will be tasked to contain the energetic Tristan Thompson off the glass.
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2. Hoiberg is no Thibs
The Bulls are transitioning into a whole new culture with new coach Fred Hoiberg at the helm. Surely, Tom Thibodeau will be missed, but the rookie coach offers a promising system wherein the players will get to see a lot more space to attack. Chicago has a lot of talent at its disposal and Hoiberg should be pretty excited to maximize each one of them.
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1. Chicago is the odds-on favorite in this game
Despite the high expectations for the season in Cleveland, the team is deemed to start slow. In the season opener, the team takes with itself a lot of questions about the roster’s health, while Chicago is looking to storm right out of the gates despite having a less-than-a-hundred-percent Derrick Rose. This is in no way going to be a walk in the park for the Cavaliers.