GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Denver (3-1) at Bulls (2-2)
TV: NBC SPORTS CHICAGO: Neil Funk and Stacey King 7PM
RADIO: 670 THE SCORE: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 6:45 PM pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 19ppg. Denver: Beasley, Morris, Plumlee: 13ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Parker: 7 per. Denver: Lyles: 7 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn and Payne each with 4. Denver: Morris: 5
CCI PREVIEW: It's the preseason finale for both teams. The Bulls rearranged their starting lineup against the Pacers going with Wendell Carter, Jr. and Bobby Portis. Portis is enjoying a fantastic camp averaging 18 points and 5 rebounds, shooting 56% from the floor. Portis is doing more mid lane post ups than in previous seasons and is taking advantage of his strength allowing him to drive deep in the paint using soft baby hook shots.
Coach Hoiberg was pleased how his team responded from the opening tip with energy, stops and good offense. Jabari Parker on the second unit was used in a facilitating role using the veteran as a point forward. Coach Hoiberg liked the look of both on Wednesday. He praised the effort of Portis who plays with energy and passion. Portis’ ability to communicate on defense was a huge factor in the Bulls suffocating defense against Indiana.
Denver missed the playoffs on the last game of the season losing at Minnesota in a game 82 play in game. The Timberwolves won the eighth seed and the Nuggets won tee time the next day. Denver has a tremendous player in Nikola Jokic who is a double-double machine and an excellent passer. Denver’s backcourt of Gary Harris and Jamal Murray can flat out play. Murray is a budding superstar. This will be an excellent test for the Bulls.
CCI KEY MATCHUP: Carter/Lopez vs Jokic. Jokic is a really tough cover and has a versatile offensive game. I expect Denver to go to him early and often.
CCI 24 SECONDS - NBA NEWS and NOTES
Toronto 134 New Orleans 119. The Raps rested their entire starting lineup. Anthony Davis played 31 minutes: 36 points, 15 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, 2 steals. I’d say he’s ready for the regular season to start up!
Utah 132 Sacramento 93. Kings rookie Marvin Bailey III with a 17-9 game.
LAC 124 Haifa 76
USA Head Coach Greg Popovich has named Steve Kerr, Nate McMillan and Villanova’s Jay Wright assistant coaches. There’s speculation Golden State could have an unprecedented 5 players on the Olympic team (Curry, Durant, Thompson, Green and Cousins).
In Minnesota, Jimmy Butler held a players only meeting. Stay tuned. This story is far from over.
The Associated Press is reporting a Quebec group wants to bring an expansion team to Montreal. Sounds good to me. Expand twice..one in Montreal and the other in Seattle.
CCI best wishes to Vince Goodwill who is leaving NBC Sports Chicago, accepting a new position as senior NBA writer for Yahoo Sports.