LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will face the Chicago Bulls on Monday night in a preseason matchup. When LeBron was in Miami, the tension was already heated between the two teams but since his return to Cleveland, many NBA fans are now wondering if that same tension will still exist. The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls are both in the running to be the Eastern Conference favorites, but despite this, LeBron James has stated himself that the Bulls are undoubtedly the better team.
If there is one advantage that the Bulls have over the Cavaliers, it is that they have a unique bond. Their team chemistry is one that has taken years to strengthen, and the Cavaliers are still looking to create a bond within their own reconstructed team. The Cavaliers took a week-long trip to Brazil as part of a team-bonding experience, but in reality, the team is still divided into two different groups. The Cavs consist of their previous players and then their new additions who many would consider to be some of NBA’s greatest and most known players. LeBron James, Mike Miller, Kevin Love and Shawn Marion are all considered to be some of NBA’s powerhouse players, but the players who have already previously been in a Cavalier uniform should not let them take over and put their own talent in the shadows. They survived and have had successful seasons despite lacking powerhouse veterans.
The Cavaliers brought LeBron James home, but in reality, their home team already had a handful of talent without LeBron. The Cavs’ have had Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson for either two or three years, and they have also had Anderson Varejão as a consistent player on their roster since 2004. Clearly the roster is divided and the team will have to build a bond that will only be beneficial on the basketball court. The only way to obtain this team chemistry though is not through bonding events or team dinners, but just through time and the progression of the season. LeBron James stated himself that he would even consider pushing his teammates’ buttons just to help build that chemistry and to eliminate the division between players.
The Chicago Bulls already have an existing team chemistry, that is a bond that LeBron James admitted to envying. Players like Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah and Jimmy Butler have experienced playing with each other for a number of seasons. They have grown together as a team through countless struggles. While the Bulls have added veteran Pau Gasol and rookies Nikola Mirotic and Doug McDermott to their roster, these three have already seemed to find their rhythm with the team in this preseason. In addition, to their team chemistry, statistically the Bulls are doing incredible and all of their players contribute on a game-to-game basis.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are 4-1, and the Chicago Bulls are 4-2. The two teams will be playing against each other on Monday night, October 20 at the Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. The regular season will officially kick-off on October 28, but LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to Chicago three days later on October 31 to face the Bulls in their season home opener at Chicago’s United Center. This game could potentially be the start to the anticipated newest rivalry within the Eastern Conference, and there could not have been a better match-up to start the season.
Commentary By Tricia Manalansan
Photo Courtesy Keith Allison – Creativecommons License