Chuck's Daily Check In - 03.17.19

GAME DAY FROM SACRAMENTO: Bulls (19-51, 11-24 on the road) at Sacramento: (33-35, 20-14 at home)
TV: WGN: J.B. Long and Stacey King: 5PM CT. Tipoff.
RADIO: 670 The Score : Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine 23ppg. Sacramento: Hield: 21ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 9 per. Sacramento: Cauley-Stein: 8 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6 per. Sacramento: Fox: 7 per.

SEASON SERIES: Sacramento 1-0. Kings 108, Bulls 89. De'Aaron Fox scored 23 of his 25 points in the second half.

CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls second stop of three on the road stops in Sacramento taking on a Kings team that just completed a four game road trip.

The Bulls need to tighten up their defense. On Friday, the Bulls allowed 128 against the Clippers; the game before, 123 points to the Lakers. A week ago in Detroit, the Pistons poured in 131 points. Third quarters in particular have done serious damage with the Bulls surrendering 45 to the Clippers, 43 to the Lakers, 42 at Detroit.

Zach LaVine returned after missing two games and scored 31 points against LAC. He's averaging 12 free throw attempts over the last three games. Robin Lopez has become a consistent low post option baffling defenders with his footwork and hook shots. He's 22 of his last 32 from the field for a sizzling 68%. Lauri Markkanen looks to get untracked against the Kings as he's gone seven straight games without hitting the 20 points mark.

The Kings are an exciting team to watch averaging nearly 114 points per game but they're currently on the outside looking in for a Western Conference playoff spot after losing three straight and nine of twelve games. The Kings trail the Clippers by six games with 14 games left for the eighth and final spot. Sacramento has a collection of rising stars from De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley III, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield and Harry Giles. They lead the NBA in fast break points at 21 per game. The key for the Bulls is simply to get back on defense. After spending over a week on the road, the Kings may have tired legs. We will see how they start the game and if the Bulls can take advantage of it.


Golden State 110, Oklahoma City 88: Russell Westbrook is human. A very tough night at the office: 2-16 from the field. 0-7-3s. Steph Curry with 33 for the Warriors. Kevin Durant missed his second straight game with an ankle injury.

Phoenix 138, New Orleans 136 OT: Horrendous execution by the Pelicans in the final seconds of OT. NOLA failed to foul allowing the Suns to drill a game tying three ball. Then the Pelicans called a time out—-one problem....they didn't have one left. The Suns shoot a tech foul shot. Ballgame. Devin Booker ripped the nets for 40. Kelly Oubre Jr. poured in 32. Elfrid Payton had quite the weekend. 16- assists 14 points-12 rebounds on Friday against the Blazers. Last night, Payton against the Suns: 16 points- 13 rebounds-16 assists-his fourth straight triple-double.

Boston 129, Atlanta 120: The Hawks battled back from a 25 point second half deficit only to see the Celtics pull away behind Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown. Irving nearly missed a triple-double with 30 points-11- rebounds and nine assists. Brown pumped in 23. Gordon Hayward suffered a strained neck early in the game and did not return. The Hawks are averaging 123 points per game since the All Star break.

Denver 102, Indiana 100: Paul Milsap with the game winner with seven seconds left. Nikola Jokic ejected after scoring 26 points. The Nuggets improved to 30-6 at home.

Utah 114, Brooklyn 98: Rudy Gobert, a CCI favorite with another robust game of 23 points and 17 rebounds. The Jazz have won three straight.

San Antonio 108, Portland 103: The Spurs won their eighth straight and ten straight at home. Portland's C.J. McCollum suffered a left leg injury.

Washington 135, Memphis 128: Bradley Beal is ridiculous. A career high, nine-three point field goals. He finished with a 40-5-7 game His second straight 40 points game in as many nights. Jabari Parker scored 20 points and added 11 rebounds. Joakim Noah continues his solid play for the Grizzlies with a 15-8 game.

Dallas 121, Cleveland 116: The Mavs ended a seven game losing streak.

Milwaukee's Malcom Brogdon is out indefinitely with a minor plantar fascia tear of the right foot.

Update from the Lakers: Brandon Ingram underwent successful thoracic outlet decompression surgery on his right arm.
Ingram is expected to make a full recovery prior to the start of next season.

Thanks for reading CCI. Reach out: cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls.

Always a pleasure!