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- Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich is fully recovered from a strained groin and will not have his minutes monitored tonight, according to coach Tom Thibodeau. The nine-year veteran will be matched up defensively against NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. “Kirk is fine, so he’ll start on Kyrie,” Thibodeau said. “It’s not an easy assignment because Kyrie is a very good cutter and puts a lot of pressure on you in a lot of ways.”
- The remainder of Chicago’s lineup is center Joakim Noah, power forward Carlos Boozer, small forward Luol Deng, and shooting guard Richard Hamilton. “We have two experienced passers in Joakim and Carlos, which we’ll try and take advantage of,” Thibodeau said. “The ball has to move and the body has to move (when we’re) passing in order for us to be successful right now.”
- The Cavaliers will start Irving, center Anderson Varejao, power forward Tristan Thompson, small forward Alonzo Gee, and rookie shooting guard Dion Waiters. Cleveland and the Bulls have now played four times since Irving was drafted first overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, but he and Chicago point guard Derrick Rose have yet share the same court because of injuries.
- Cavaliers coach Byron Scott plans on keeping his 10-man rotation that includes a second unit of rookie Tyler Zeller at center, Luke Walton at power forward, C.J. Miles at small forward, Daniel Gibson at shooting guard, and Donald Sloan at point guard. “We’re gonna give it a go with those guys for a week or so,” Scott said. “If we have to make some changes at that point, then we will.”
- Chicago and Cleveland are both 1-0. The Bulls beat Sacramento 93-87 on Halloween, while the Cavaliers topped the Wizards 94-84 in the opening game of the 2012-2013 NBA season on Tuesday.
- Rose (left knee reconstructive surgery) remains out indefinitely for Chicago, while Cleveland’s inactives are point guard Jeremy Pargo and power forward Luke Harangody.
- The Bulls have won eight straight games over the Cavaliers, including all three meetings last season.
– Brian Dulik