Chicago Bulls Stat Monkey Brief: Bulls/Cavs (1/7/13)

We've been on the Free Jimmy Butler train for a while, but Nate Dogg is looking for a bit more playing time as well.

The Bulls face off against the Cavs for the third time this season tonight at the United Center. Chicago is 2-0 so far against Cleveland; both wins involved solid play offensively from the Bulls. Coming off a huge win on Friday against the Heat in Miami, the Bulls seek to tighten the gap in the Central Division with a win tonight.

New Year’s Resolutions

The Bulls have kicked off the New Year in great fashion, starting 2-0 in 2013. The team is finally healthy (minus Derrick Rose, whose return is apparently just around the corner) and is starting to get hot on offense. So in honor of the New Year, here are three resolutions for Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls for 2013.

1. Let Nate Dogg Play – Nate Robinson has proven to be a solid option at the point. He is simply playing better (and more efficiently) than Kirk Hinrich posting an offensive rating of 105 (Kirk has an ORtg of 100). Though he uses the ball more than anyone else on the court, he is using it as well as just about anyone else (except for Jimmy Butler, but more on that later).

2. Shoot Better – The Bulls offense has some good things going for it: an offensive rebounding percentage of 29.3 percent and a free throw to field goal attempt ratio of .222. However, the Bulls just can’t seem to make shots. They rank 25th in the league in effective field goal percentage, which is the key component holding them back. If you can’t make shots, your offense is bad.

3. Gimme Some Jimmy – If you have read some of my articles before, you know I love Jimmy Butler. But it’s hard not to when he is posting an offensive rating almost 20 points higher than anyone else on your squad. His usage has been increasing but is still relatively low, so hopefully he has resolved to take a few more shots going forward and help towards resolution No. 2.

Tonight’s Matchup

For the Bulls D there should be two main guys on the radar, Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao. Irving is using the ball on over 30 percent of team possessions while on the court, so clearly when he has the rock all hands need to be on deck. However, it’s Varejao who has been the more efficient scorer, leading the team (of all players averaging more than 3 minutes/game) in offensive rating at 117.

The Bulls have played well against the Cavs bottom 5 defense in their two contests this season, so if they can stay hot on offense, they should come home with their third straight W.