GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Boston (37-22, 14-14 on the road) at Bulls: (15-44, 6-23 at home)
TV: NBC Sports Chicago, Neil Funk and Stacey King: 7PM CT.
RADIO: 670 The Score, Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 23ppg. Boston: Irving: 23 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 8 per. Boston: Horford : 7 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6 per.Boston: Irving: 6 per.
SEASON SERIES: Boston 2-0.
CCI PREVIEW: A quick turn around for the Bulls after a Friday game in Orlando. It will be the second of three games in four nights for the Bulls who look to beat Boston for the first time this season. The Celtics dominated both games winning convincingly by margins of 29 and 56 points.
The Celtics however are still trying to figure things out in the East and getting healthy is a major priority. Kyrie Irving is in and out of the lineup with nagging injuries. Lots of drama however with Irving. Is he staying or leaving? CCI says, play ball and worry about July in July. The same can be said of Gordon Hayward. Hayward is still working his way back from a horrific injury in October of 2017 on opening night against Cleveland. The Celtics are being patient and understandably so. In the 2017 off season, Boston signed him to a four year, 128 million dollar deal. He’s had flashes of the Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz days but he’s not there for Boston on a consistent basis. I’m a huge fan of Tatum, Brown, Horford but I’m a big time booster of a Marcus Smart who just gets down and dirty and is a glue guy on the Celtics roster.
If the playoffs were to begin today, the Celtics would face Philadelphia, which would be an electrifying, MUST SEE series.
FINAL FROM ORLANDO: Bulls 110 Orlando 109
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 25pts. Orlando: Fournier: 22 pts.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 11. Orlando: Vucevic: 13.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: LaVine: 6. Orlando: Vucevic: 7.
CCI RECAP: A thriller in Florida as Lauri Markkanen sank two free throws with 1.5 seconds left as the Bulls out willed the Magic splitting the four game season series. The Bulls have won consecutive games for the second time this season. The Magic missed eleven free throws. Story of the game. The Bulls received outstanding production from Zach LaVine, Robin Lopez, Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. The group combined for 82 points.
Markkanen is averaging 25 points and 12 rebounds per game through seven February contests. Lopez has been outstanding for the Bulls shooting 67% over the past six games. He has scored 17+ points in a career best four straight games. LaVine has made 18 of his last 19 free throws and has scored 20+ points in five of his last six games. Porter went 3 of 6 behind the arc and is a sizzling 14-25 (on 3pt FG) since joining the Bulls, a 56% shooting clip.
Another key stat: Turnovers - or lack there of - the Bulls committed only eight. Nice win for the Bulls against an Orlando team that had won five straight games prior to the All Star break.
CCI IN THE LOCKER ROOM:
“I thought it was a great game. Both teams had deficits they had to overcome and it was a highly competitive, good game. We got a lot from a lot of guys. Zach was great, Lauri was great. RoLo made a big play at the end. Good team win.” Coach Boylen
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
Toronto 120 - San Antonio 117. It was rockin’ in Canada as DeMar DeRozan returned to Toronto for the first time since being dealt in an off season blockbuster deal for Kawhi Leonard. He received a thunderous standing ovation as well he should. Leonard had a go ahead dunk with 15 seconds left, scoring 25 points, stealing the ball from, yes, DeRozan. DeRozan finished with 23 points. The Raps have won seven straight.
OKC 148 - Utah 147 2OT. Paul George. Paul George. Paul George. He MUST be in serious conversation for the MVP. George played 50 of a possible 58 minutes, scoring 45 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. His floater with less than a second remaining won it for the Thunder. Russell Westbrook is a treasure. His line: 43-15-8. Never take these players for granted. Ever. Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points. Rudy Gobert with an impressive 26-16 with 3 blocked shots. Fantastic ballgame.
Indiana 126 - New Orleans 111. The Pelicans blew a 20 point lead. Wesley Matthews, a tremendous pickup by the Pacers, scored 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter. Anthony Davis will see limited minutes the rest of the way and recorded only 20 minutes against Indiana.
Detroit 125 - Atlanta 122. Newly acquired Thon Maker drilled a three ball with 16 seconds left to propel the Pistons to a victory. Reggie Jackson scored a season high 32 points. Andre Drummond recorded a 26-21 game, his fifth straight game with at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. Yes, there is still room in the NBA for an old school post player. I love it !
Minnesota 115 - New York 104. Two former Bulls, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson combined for 39 points. Karl Anthony Towns streak of 303 consecutive starts ended when he was placed in the concussion protocol after he was involved in a car accident.
Los Angeles Clippers 112 - Memphis 106. ESPN is reporting Jaren Jackson suffered a right quad injury and is out indefinitely. The Grizzlies who are really struggling, host the Bulls Wednesday in Memphis
Denver 114 - Dallas 104. Luka Doncic sat out due to ankle soreness.
Charlotte 123 - Washington 110. Kemba Walker had 27 points and 11 assists. Nic Batum, playing the two guard, scored 20. Bradley Beal continues his ridiculously incredible play ripping the nets for a season high 46 points. The Hornets go to 20-9 at home and are two under .500 on the season.
Thanks for reading CCI. Reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @ctsbulls. Always a pleasure!