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- Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving (illness) will not play. The No. 1 overall draft pick warmed up with his teammates upon arriving at Quicken Loans Arena, but was ruled out of the game after meeting with the team’s medical staff an hour before tipoff. “Kyrie has got some type of bug he caught in Orlando (during NBA All-Star weekend), and it finally caught up with him,” Cleveland coach Byron Scott explained.
- With Irving sidelined, Ramon Sessions will run the point for the Cavaliers with shooting guard Daniel “Boobie” Gibson backing him up. Sessions is averaging 18.3 points and 12.3 assists in three starts this season. Also worth noting: When Sessions starts, power forward Antawn Jamison is averaging 27.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting .582 from the field.
- Joining Sessions and Jamison in Cleveland’s lineup are center Semih Erden, small forward Omri Casspi, and shooting guard Anthony Parker. The Cavaliers’ inactives are center Anderson Varejao (right wrist fracture) and swingman Christian Eyenga (right little toe laceration). Officially, Irving is on their 13-man active roster, but he is not in uniform.
- Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton (right thigh strain) will start in the backcourt alongside reigning NBA MVP Derrick Rose. Hamilton, who missed 13 games with the injury from Jan. 27-Feb. 22, is averaging 3.5 points and 2.5 assists in two contests since returning. The remainder of Chicago’s first five includes center Joakim Noah, power forward Carlos Boozer, and small forward Luol Deng.
- Rose sat out the Bulls’ last game in Cleveland with a left toe sprain, but Chicago still managed to hand the Cavaliers their worst-ever home loss — 114-75 on Jan. 20. “We addressed it (with the team),” Scott said. “We got our (expletive) kicked, and tonight, hopefully we come back ready to play. It’s time to man up.”
- The Bulls have won four games in a row and are 6-1 in their last seven contests, while Cleveland has lost three straight to fall 3 1/2 games behind New York in the race for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
– Brian Dulik