INDEPENDENCE, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Chicago Bulls march into Cleveland tonight as the second test of the season for the Cavaliers, but don’t think for a minute the Cavs are looking past them.
Some may not fear Chicago as much as in the past with an ailing Derrick Rose on the bench watching as he comes back from a knee injury that derailed the Bulls shot last season to progress in the NBA playoffs.
Don’t tell that though to Cavs coach Byron Scott, as he knows with Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, the Bulls bring a totally different style to tonight’s game than that of Tuesday night when Washington was in town.
“They play with so much energy and so much aggressiveness, and they play with a physical style of basketball that you have to be aware of,” Scott said of Noah and Boozer.
Tuesday vs Washington, the Cavs were able to dominate inside with no Nene for the Wizards, and it showed in the box score with 23 rebounds for center Anderson Varajeo.
With Noah and Boozer, those types of numbers will be next to impossible to come by in tonight’s matchup.
“Defensively they are one of the best in the league on the way they defend on a night to night basis,” Scott said. “From an offensive standpoint, you have to worry about Boozer in the post and Rip Hamilton and how he gets up and down the floor every night and how he moves without the ball.”
Noah had 23 points with 10 rebounds, Hamilton scored 19 and Boozer added 18 in Chicago’s 93-87 home win over Sacramento on Wednesday.
Even without Rose, they have enough talent to play with anyone in the East, and Scott and his team know that as they enter action tonight.
“Last year they didn’t have Rose for the majority of the season and still had the best record in the East,” Scott reminded everyone. “They still have a very good basketball team, probably still one of the top 2-3 teams in the Eastern Conference.”
Last season Chicago won 18 of 27 games without Rose, one of them being a game in Cleveland vs the Cavs. They were the #1 seed in the East, and while they were knocked out in round one by the Sixers, don’t underestimate Chicago as a team to look at in the Conference.
“I think they still have something to prove, and they are still learning,” Scott said. “I think they have a very good idea of what they can do without Derrick and they are just picking up where they left off.”