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- Bulls point guard Derrick Rose (left toe sprain) will sit out his third straight game and is inactive. The reigning NBA MVP, who did not take part in the morning shootaround, suffered a flare-up of the injury Saturday against Toronto. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said Rose’s status remains day to day, but added, “each day, he’s moving in the right direction. Right now, he doesn’t feel he’s ready to go.”
- C.J. Watson will make his second start of the season in Rose’s spot, prompting Cavaliers coach Byron Scott to quip, “My prayer was answered.” The remainder of Chicago’s lineup is center Joakim Noah, power forward Carlos Boozer, small forward Luol Deng, and shooting guard Richard Hamilton. “The thing with our team is we have more than enough to work with, even without Derrick,” Thibodeau said.
- Cavaliers shooting guard Anthony Parker (lower back strain) will play after missing one game. The 36-year-old, who is the oldest player on Cleveland’s roster, said no single incident caused the stiffness. “It was just a combination of things, like our (two-week) West Coast trip, sleeping in some bad hotel beds, and playing in a lot of games one after the other,” Parker explained.
- Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is averaging 21.8 points and 5.2 assists in his last six games. The No. 1 overall draft choice leads all rookies in scoring (17.7), and ranks second in assists (5.2) and field goal percentage (.486). Irving said he empathizes with Rose, having missed a significant portion of his one year at Duke with ligament damage in his right big toe. “It’s really like jamming your finger, but worse, because that’s where you get your power from,” he said.
- Irving, Parker, small forward Omri Casspi, power forward Antawn Jamison, and center Anderson Varejao will start for Cleveland. Guard Mychel Thompson and swingman Christian Eyenga are inactive for the Cavaliers.
- Chicago has the best record in the NBA at 13-3, while Cleveland is 6-7 and stands seventh in the Eastern Conference standings. The Cavaliers have played a league-low four home games, winning two of them.
– Brian Dulik