FINAL FROM INDIANA: Indiana 105, Bulls 96. (Bulls: 18-47, 11-22 on the road)
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 27. Indiana: Bogdanovic: 27.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 13. Indiana: Turner: 11.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 5. Indiana: Young: 6.
CCI RECAP: The Pacers swept the four-game season series pulling away from the Bulls in the final quarter on buckets by Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison. The two Indiana starters combined for 49 points. The Bulls trailed by as many as 16 points but rallied to take an 86-85 lead with just over seven minutes left but the Pacers hit big hoops to seal the victory. Myles Turner rejected a career-high seven shots to go along with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Zach LaVine had a huge fourth quarter scoring 13 of his team-high 27 points. Lauri Markkanen registered his sixth double-double in his last seven games (14-13). Robin Lopez was superb in the post going 9-18 from the field finishing with 20 points and 9 rebounds. Three-point shooting took the night off for the Bulls who made just four in 25 attempts.
CCI IN THE LOCKER ROOM: “We lost because they were tougher than us in the fourth quarter. “ - Coach Boylen
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Boston 128, Golden State 95: The Celtics shocked the Warriors on Golden State’s home court. Yes, Klay Thompson sat out with knee soreness but give credit to the Celtics who have certainly had their share of struggles post All-Star break. Gordon Hayward looked like the Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz days. In 28 minutes, Hayward had a very impressive 30-7-4 2 steals line.
Philadelphia 114, Orlando 106: JJ Redick snapped out of a shooting slump as he drained six-three pointers. Joel Embiid missed another game with knee soreness. He will not play tonight against the Bulls.
Houston 107, Toronto 95: Big-time road win for the Rockets. James Harden scored 19 of his 35 in the fourth quarter. The Rockets have won six straight. The Raps saw their seven-game home win streak come to an end.
Memphis 120, Portland 111: The Grizzlies turned back a road-weary Blazers team. Mike Conley scored 19 of his career-high 40 points in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota 131, Oklahoma City 120: The good news for OKC: Paul George returned. That was about it for the Thunder. Karl-Anthony Towns had a 41-14 game. He has scored 180 points over his last five games. George with 25 but went only 8-25 from the field.
GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Philadelphia (41-23, 16-14 on the road) at Bulls (18-47, 7-25 at home).
TV: ESPN (Neil and Stacey have the night off) 7PM tipoff.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul: 6:45 pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 23ppg. Philadelphia: Butler: 18ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 9 per. Philadelphia: Simmons: 9 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6 per. Philadelphia: Simmons: 7 per.
SEASON SERIES: Philadelphia 1-0.
CCI PREVIEW: Both teams face a quick turnaround as they meet in the second game of back-to-backs. The 76ers beat Orlando without the services of big man Joel Embiid (knee). He will not play tonight. Ben Simmons is having a monster season averaging 17 points, 9 rebounds and nearly 8 assists per game. He’s shooting 56% from the field but only 59% from the foul line. In 144 NBA games, Simmons is a career 0-15 from three point range. Jimmy Butler will play against the Bulls for the first time this season.
After demanding a trade from Minnesota, Butler in 42 games is averaging 18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. The 76ers are in an "all in to win" mindset making their second blockbuster trade of the season acquiring Tobias Harris from the Clippers at the trade deadline. Harris is a pure scorer. In ten games as a Sixer, Harris is averaging 21 points and 8 rebounds. Is Philly good enough to beat Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston in a seven-game series? Yes. However, it depends on the health of Embiid. If he’s battling knee issues, Philly could lose an opening round series.
One final note: An excellent job turned in by our Bulls family and Advocate Children’s Hospital as the two parties collaborated hosting 14-year-old Xavier Bradford and his family on our road trip to Indiana. Xavier has shown courage dealing with some serious health issues but he’s doing much better, which is great news for everyone concerned. Xavier and his family met the entire Bulls traveling party including his favorite player, Zach LaVine. Xavier was treated to a special dinner and appeared on our Bulls radio pregame show. I wish Xavier the very best. I admire his drive and determination to never give up.