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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Bulls at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 20, 2012

Chicago Bulls (10-3) at Cleveland Cavaliers (6-7)
Time: 7:30 p.m.; Venue: The Q; TV/Radio: FS Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving (17.7, 3.5, 5.2, SG Anthony Parker (6.4, 2.7, 2.2), SF Omri Casspi (7.6, 3.0, 1.5), PF Antawn Jamison (17.0, 5.6, 1.4), C Anderson Varejao (9.8, 11.4, 1.5)
Bulls probables: PG C.J. Watson (10.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.6 apg), SG Richard Hamilton (12.2, 3.0, 3.5), SF Luol Deng (15.3, 7.4, 2.5), PF Carlos Boozer (14.6, 8.1, 1.4), C Joakim Noah (7.1, 8.2, 1.7)
Injury report: Cavs -- Anthony Parker (back) probable; Bulls -- Derrick Rose (toe) questionable.
Officials: Derrick Stafford, Curtis Blair, Violet Palmer

* Anthony Parker participated in shootaround this morning and is expected to play tonight, bringing the Cavs back to full strength for the start of a difficult stretch on the schedule.

* Nine of the next 10 games are against teams that made the playoffs last year. Three of the 10 are against the Mavericks and Heat, the two teams that played for the championship. The Cavs have fared well to this point, but this is easily the toughest stretch of opponents they've faced this season.

* Bulls point guard Derrick Rose did not participate in shootaround this morning and is listed as a game-time decision, but I'd be surprised if he played. The Bulls whipped the Suns without him on Tuesday and the team likely believes they can beat the Cavs without him, too, giving him extra time to rest.

* Irving matched Phoenix's Steve Nash shot for shot during the road trip, but Nash is past his prime and at the end of his career (although still a very good point guard). It would've been interesting to see how Irving fared against the reigning MVP. Even if Rose plays, he surely won't be 100 percent and therefore not as dangerous offensively. Irving is having big-time trouble keeping opposing point guards in front of him. A healthy Rose would've been a huge test.

* The Bulls play some of the best defense in the league and are the toughest team to score against (85.8). Cavs coach Byron Scott said it's important to move the ball against them, because if the ball gets stuck on one side of the court against the Bulls, they're dead.

* Parker's return means the Cavs shouldn't have to use Ramon Sessions and Kyrie Irving together much. Regardless what they say about it being easy for them to play together, it's obviously not. Neither looks comfortable without the ball. While Scott will likely tinker with the look at times, it's important they aren't in a position where those two have to play big minutes together.

* Semih Erden must have gotten the message that Scott wasn't very happy with what he had seen thus far out of the big man. Erden had his best offensive game of the season Tuesday against the Warriors, but only grabbed three rebounds. Scott would take the rebounds over the 14 points, but it was good to see Erden contribute.

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