CHICAGO: One night after the Cavaliers’ high-powered offense looked disjointed in an opening-night loss to the Knicks, they’ll face a stiffer challenge Friday when the Chicago Bulls celebrate their home opener.



Now they’ll wait to see if the Bulls will be at full strength after defensive specialist Jimmy Butler (thumb) participated in shootaround Friday morning, according to the Chicago Tribune. Butler hadn't practiced since Oct. 19 and would provide help for the Bulls in defending LeBron James.



These are the two early season favorites to meet in the conference finals, but Thursday’s loss to the Knicks indicated how much work remains for the Cavs.



James might have had eight turnovers, but Kyrie Irving blamed himself for the Cavs’ offensive struggles.



“It’s better communication between me and Coach Blatt,” Irving said. “I’m his point guard out there. He has plays in his mind, I have plays in my mind as well. We’re just going to continue to grow. It’s a process.”



Irving said he and Blatt tend to alternate play calls during practice and there were at least a couple occasions Thursday when Blatt was trying to call one play while Irving appeared to run something else.



“It’s about what’s going on out there on the court and what he sees and what I see,” Irving said. “Hopefully we can get on the same page.”



Irving had 22 points, seven assists and four turnovers against the Knicks, but now must quickly turn his attention to Derrick Rose.



Rose was magnificent a couple weeks ago in a preseason loss to the Cavs, outscoring Irving 30-28 as he continues to work his way back from two serious knee injuries. Rose erased any doubts about his explosiveness in that preseason game against the Cavs, but doing it once in an exhibition is far different than repeating it 82 times.



Rose had 13 points, five assists and three turnovers in the Bulls’ smothering 104-80 victory against the Knicks on Wednesday.



The Bulls are probably the best defensive team in the league, meaning the Cavs will have to keep the ball moving and not grow stagnant as they did Thursday.



“We’re really good when we move the ball,” Blatt said. “When we play without motion and without ball energy, then that's what it looks like.”