A pair of Central Division foes looking to remain unbeaten on the young season clash tonight at Quicken Loans Arena, where the Cleveland Cavaliers will entertain the Chicago Bulls.
The Cavaliers got the season off to a good start with Tuesday's 94-84 triumph versus Washington thanks to a game-high 29 points from reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. Irving made 11 of his 20 shot attempts, grabbed six rebounds and handed out three assists.
Anderson Varejao had nine points and played a big role on the boards, grabbing a career-high 23 rebounds for Cleveland, which hasn't started 2-0 since the 2006-07 season.
"I just tried to do my job, just tried to be active," said Varejao. "It was one of those nights when [rebounds] kept coming. It was fun."
Varejao, who had 12 offensive boards and nine assists, is only the second player in NBA history and the first in team annals to record at least nine points, 23 rebounds and nine assists in the team's first game of the season. Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain amassed 11 points, 30 rebounds and nine assists back on Oct. 18, 1967.
Tristan Thompson recorded his 10th career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds in a winning effort. Rookie Dion Waiters netted 17 points in his debut.
Cleveland will hit the road for six games against the Bucks, Clippers, Warriors, Suns, Thunder and Nets after this quick season-opening homestand.
Even with Derrick Rose sidelined with a knee ailment, the Bulls kicked off their season with a 93-87 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Joakim Noah ended with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Carlos Boozer added 18 and eight boards and Richard Hamilton netted 19 points in the victory. In six preseason games, Hamilton led the Bulls in scoring with 14.3 PPG.
"We can play better, but...it was great to get a win against a talented Sacramento team," Noah said.
Kirk Hinrich, starting at point guard with Rose still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in Chicago's first playoff game last April, shot just 1-for-7 from the floor, but handed out seven assists and only committed two turnovers.
The Bulls are aiming for their first 2-0 start since 2002-03 and are 18-28 all-time in their first road game of the season.
Chicago won all three meetings with Cleveland in 2011-12 and is unbeaten in the previous eight matchups between the division foes. The Bulls have ripped off four straight wins at the Q.