Cleveland (0-0) at Chicago (0-0)
When: Tuesday, October 27th 2015
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The 2015-2016 NBA season kicks off in Chicago as the Bulls host the defending Eastern Conference Champions Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls are hoping to finally get a full-season out of point guard Derek Rose, who has been slowed by various injuries over the last few years. Rose played for the first time in the preseason finale on Friday and only a setback would prevent him from playing on Tuesday after breaking an orbital bone earlier this month. The Bulls went 50-32 last season, but lost in the second round of the Playoffs to Cleveland in six games. Fred Hoiberg will take over coaching duties from Tom Thibodeau. Shooting guard Jimmy Butler teams with Rose to form a strong backcourt and Chicago is solid up front while being led by power forward Pau Gasol and center Joakim Noah. Bulls SF Mike Dunleavy (back) is sidelined for at least another six weeks after undergoing surgery in late September.
Cleveland went all the way to the finals last year despite not having 2 of their 3 best players in the Playoffs. One of those is Kevin Love, who decided to resign with the Cavs to help them get over that last hump. Point guard Kyrie Irving, who fractured his kneecap during the Finals, won’t be available until maybe January, but Cleveland should be fine until then. LeBron James will be sitting more this season in order to keep him fresh all the way through June. James missed two weeks of practice due to lower-back issues but is ready to help the Cavaliers return to the NBA Finals. They signed PG Mo Williams in the offseason to help with depth. Cavaliers SG Iman Shumpert (wrist) will miss the first two-plus months of the season after undergoing surgery in late September.
It sounds like Rose and James are both not 100%, but its opening night and they’ll be ready. Dunleavy is a big part of the Bulls game and he’s out for several weeks. Anytime I can get LeBron and company as underdogs, I’ll take it.
Pick: Cavaliers +3