Considering how low expectations had plummeted in Cleveland following last season’s post-Lebron debacle, this season’s 6-7 start has to be considered an abject success. Number one draft pick Kyrie Irving has been even better than advertised, averaging a nice 17.7 points and 5.2 assists per game. The Cavs are hoping this is the sign of a possible blossoming of a career similar to that of another recent #1 draft pick point guard of a few years ago…
That guy would be Derrick Rose. Unfortunately for the Cavs, they are going to get a chance to see up close and personal just how wide that gap still remains. Irving has been wonderful, but doesn’t have anywhere near the explosiveness or strength of Rose, and will have a tough time checking him off the bounce tonight in Cleveland.
The Cavs will face the NBA’s stingiest defense tonight. Chicago allows just 85.8 points per game, and have forced 20 turnovers in each of their last two games. Their average point differential of nearly 10 points a game is also a league leader. Cleveland, on the flipside, is fresh off a 16 turnover loss to Golden State lowlighted by six turnovers by Kyrie Irving. If he has similar struggles tonight, the Bulls have the potential to make things pretty miserable for the home fans.
Cleveland has lost 5 of its last 8 including losses to Toronto and Golden State. The Bulls have been sensational and enter tonight at 13-3 and fortunately finally rested. Five points on the road is a fairly hefty number to lay, but looking at individual matchups as well as the team’s historical matchup (the Bulls haven’t lost to the Cavs in four attempts post-Lebron, and boast an average margin of victory of 9.5 points), I’m willing to take the road Bulls.
This feels more like an 8 or 9 point line to me. My official pick is Chicago laying the five at Cleveland.
Free Pick: Chicago Bulls -5 @ www.5dimes.com