USATODAY.COM gives us a preview of Saturday’s Chicago Vs. Cleveland game:
If LeBron James is making any birthday wishes on Saturday, the Cleveland Cavaliers star forward might want to wish for an end to his team’s struggles on the road.
James celebrates his 22nd birthday on Saturday when the Cavaliers take on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
James, averages 26.7 points per game on the road, but despite his impressive contribution, the Cavaliers (17-11) are a meager 4-8 away from Cleveland. Improvement is of the essence now, with 10 of the Cavs’ next 12 games coming on the road.
James scored 32 points in Cleveland’s 109-99 home win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, the third consecutive victory for the Cavaliers. Donyell Marshall had 29 points and 10 rebounds, whil Larry Hughes added 26 points and 10 assists.
Marshall’s big night came after he had scored a combined 13 points in his previous five games.
James took a hard foul late from Brian Skinner in the third quarter and was sent tumbling into the basket stanchion, but said he was not hurt after the game.
“The initial foul wasn’t bad, but then he threw me down,” he said. “It didn’t hurt. I’m a football player.”
Friday’s performance was the 100th 30-point game in James’ four-year NBA career. He appears to have a good chance of doing it for the 101st time in this contest. James is averaging 26.2 points in 13 games against the Bulls (18-12), and has scored at least 30 in four of his last five times facing them.
Cleveland has won five straight meetings with Chicago, including a 113-94 victory on Nov. 9 at Quicken Loans Arena in which. the Cavaliers shot 57 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Bulls 47-30. James scored 19 points and added 12 assists.
The Bulls look very different now, however. Following a 3-9 start to the season, Chicago has won 15 of 18 games, including a 107-97 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Luol Deng scored 25 points and had six rebounds despite nursing a sore wrist, while Ben Gordon scored 22 points.
“It was a big win for us,” said Deng, who sprained his right wrist on a flagrant foul by Miami’s James Posey – who later received a one-game suspension – on Wednesday.
Chicago shot 59.7 percent – its second-highest mark of the season – although it also committed 20 turnovers.
“We had great difficulty early on and contained their penetration,” Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. “Other than a brief period in the third quarter, we were pretty solid defensively, and we were able to get on the break a little bit. … I felt we could have played much better, but it was a good road win for us.”
The Bulls have one of the league’s best home records at 13-2, and have won their last six games at the United Center.