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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Bulls at Cavs

By Jason Lloyd Published: March 2, 2012

Chicago Bulls (29-8) at Cleveland Cavaliers (13-20)
Time: 7:30 p.m.; Venue: Quicken Loans Arena: TV/Radio: Fox Sports Ohio/WTAM, WAKR, WHBC
Cavs probables: PG Kyrie Irving (18.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.1 apg), SG Anthony Parker (5.9, 2.2, 2.3), SF Omri Casspi (7.6, 3.5, 1.4), PF Antawn Jamison (17.3, 6.6, 1.8), C Semih Erden (3.4, 2.8, 0.5)
Bulls probables: PG Derrick Rose (22.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 7.6 apg), SG Richard Hamilton (12.5, 2.8, 3.5), SF Luol Deng (15.6, 7.1, 3.2), PF Carlos Boozer (15.6, 8.2, 1.7), C Joakim Noah (9.7, 10.2, 2.5)
Injury report: Cavs -- Kyrie Irving (ill) questionable, Christian Eyenga (toe) out, Anderson Varejao (wrist) out; Bulls -- Richard Hamilton (thigh) probable
Officials: James Capers, John Goble, Tommy Nunez Jr.

* There is a chance Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose won't meet at all this season. Rose missed the first game last month with a toe injury and now Irving is sick and questionable for tonight's game. Irving skipped shootaruond this morning, which isn't a good sign. The two teams don't meet again until the final game of the season in Chicago on April 26. By then, the Bulls should know their playoff positioning and might rest their starters.

* The Cavs re-signed Manny Harris to a second 10-day contract this morning and Byron Scott said he'd make a better effort and getting Harris some minutes this time. Harris played in one of the Cavs' four games over the previous 10 days, logging a grand total of six seconds. But Scott is obviously familiar with Harris after coaching him all of last season. "There's two things I know about Manny: He's a heck of a defender and he's a tough kid," Scott said. "Those are two things we can use."

* Scott said players who get a taste of the NBA, then have to go to the Development League are often more appreciative and grateful for what they have when they return. That seems to be the case with Harris, who said he thanks Scott every chance he gets. "Not for him doing me a favor because I work hard for it," Harris said, "but for another opportunity and him believing in me." The Cavs will play six games over the next 10 days.

* Losing Irving tonight would seem to be a crushing blow to the Cavs' chances. After all, they lost at home to these Bulls by 39 points last month when the Bulls were without Rose.

* The Cavs are 3 1/2 games behind the Knicks for the final playoff spot, so technically they're still lingering in the playoff race. But are they really legitimate playoff contenders? The numbers say no. The Cavs begin play today with a 3-11 record against the top eight teams in the East. They're 1-6 against the top four: Miami, Chicago, Indiana and Philadelphia. In their lone victory, the Pacers were without leading scorer Danny Granger.

* That isn't meant to diminish what Scott has done with this team, which is bordering on remarkable. He has taken a collection of rookies, role players and fringe NBA players and molded then into a team that plays hard every night and finds a way to stay in most games. But that doesn't meant they're good and it doesn't mean they should make the playoffs.

* The Bulls survived a scare Wednesday when Rose banged knees with Spurs guard Tony Parker and remained on the court for several minutes. What looked like a major injury at one point proved to be nothing at all.

* The Bulls recently got back Richard Hamilton to the starting lineup. Now Hamilton is working his way back into shape. Hamilton could be a big key to the Bulls' playoff lives.

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