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With preseason games and an NBA season just over a week away, many fans and teams are anxious for the start of the regular season. The Cleveland Cavaliers however, are looking forward to their preseason matchup against the Chicago Bulls on tonight.

Following the morning shoot-around at Ohio State University, where the game will be played, LeBron James told reporters “The Bulls are a team that’s much better than us right now just off chemistry. They’ve been together a while, we’ve got a long way to go.”

Chicago’s core of Joakim Noah, Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, and Taj Gibson have been together for a couple years now, and although they’ve had their share of injuries, the Bulls know they have to collectively become better defensively more than anything. That is their identity, something Cleveland will be finding by season’s end. Ever since James’ last stint with Cleveland, the Bulls have been a pesky opponent James’ seen countless times in the playoffs both as a Cavalier and as a member of the Heat.

The Bulls have always struggled a bit on the offense end without Rose on the floor, but now he’s back working off any rust he may have had and Chicago has welcomed newcomer Pau Gasol, who is still learning the team’s schemes. Chicago is also ready to try and advance past a LeBron James-led team, so Cleveland will have a lot of work to do as they try to hold the Bulls off and keep their hope for a Championship alive.

{adinserter 2} When asked about that Cavaliers and how they compare to the Bulls chemistry, James does not expect that chemistry to come easily. “You’ve got to go through something to create a bond; that means for the worse. We’ve got to lose ballgames that we think we should’ve won, we’ve got to get into an argument every now and then just to test each other out.”

LeBron went through a similar phase down in South Beach with the Heat during his first season in Miami. The Heat, widely expected to be the favorite for the title, got off to a horrendous start at 9-8 with numerous rumored issues within the locker room. Over the course of his 4 year stint in Miami, Heat players had their share of disagreements and occasional outbursts, but that only brought the team together even more for the common goal of winning a Championship.

“It has to happen,” says James. “It has to happen. I know it is going to happen. A lot of guys don’t see it, but I see it. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to grow. You don’t define yourself during the good times, you define yourself through the bad times. That’s for the players and the coaching staff as well.”

Clearly, James believes the same tough times will be unavoidable and necessary for the Cleveland Cavaliers to succeed. While they’ve played relatively well so far in the preseason with a 4-1 record, Monday’s game against the Bulls will be the first time that James, Love, and Irving will be facing an NBA team all starting in the lineup.

No one expects the run to a Championship to be easy and past champions have shown that it’s not an easy task. Cavaliers’ fans can only hope that the Cavs face the adversity in early November and December so they can be ready and seasoned for April, May, and hopefully, June.