GAME NIGHT FROM LOS ANGELES: Bulls (19-50, 11-23 on the road) at Los Angeles Clippers (39-30, 20-13 at home)
TV: WGN: J.B. Long and Stacey King. 9:30 CT tip.
RADIO: 670 The Score. Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 9:15 CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 23ppg. LAC: Williams: 20ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 9 per. LAC: Harrell: 6 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6 per. LAC: Williams: 5 per.
SEASON SERIES: LAC 1-0.
CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls hit the road for a quick three games in four nights with stops here in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Phoenix. The Bulls have dropped five out of their last six. In three of the five losses, the Bulls have allowed 123 or more points. Zach LaVine is expected to be in the lineup tonight and there is no doubt he loves the big stage in Los Angeles where he spent a brief time at UCLA.
Lou Williams is having another Lou Williams-type season averaging 20 points per game. He’s aiming for his third NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. He’s played in 63 of a possible 69 games, all coming off the bench. He’s the NBA’s best bargain salary-wise, earning seven million a year.
Danilo Gallinari is enjoying a solid season averaging 19 per game but has missed 12 games this season. Last year he missed 61 games, the year before 19 and the year prior to that 29. You get the point. For the Clippers to make the playoffs and then win a round, Gallinari must be on the floor.
Two tough hard-nosed players that simply get it done nightly are Patrick Beverley (Marshall High School) and Montrezl Harrell. Beverley will get in his opponent’s grill and doesn’t back down from anyone. I mean—anyone. Harrell is having a break out season. The 25-year-old, fourth-year forward from Louisville is a rugged player who can finish around the rim. He’s having career bests in points (16.2) and rebounds (6.7).
The Clippers front office led by Lawrence Frank has done some heavy lifting the past two seasons. The days of Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan are long gone. They sent free agent in waiting Tobias Harris to Philly for a promising 6-5 shooting guard in Landry Shamet, two first round picks and two second round picks. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a boat load of potential but mastering the point guard position isn’t easy, especially if you’re a 20 year old rookie. He’s a keeper, though.
I’m expecting LaVine to have a huge game tonight and look for Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. to nail multiple three point field goals.
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Indiana 108, Oklahoma City 106: The Pacers erased a 19-point deficit as Wesley Matthews tipped in a basket with 1.8 seconds left. Domantas Sabonis, a former OKC player, scored 28 for Indiana. Former Pacer Paul George scored 36 points. Russell Westbrook notched his 27th triple-double of the season.
Toronto 111, Los Angeles Lakers 98: The Lakers have lost six out of their last seven games.
Denver 100, Dallas 99: Nikola Jokic bucket at the buzzer won it for the Nuggets. Paul Milsap 33-8-3 for the Nuggets. Luka Doncic 24-11-9 for the Mavs.
Utah 120, Minnesota 100: The Timberwolves didn’t arrive in Salt Lake City until Thursday morning due to a snowstorm and high winds in Denver. The team was stranded at the airport for 10 hours before returning to their hotel.
Orlando 120, Cleveland 91: The first of five straight at home for the Magic as Aaron Gordon, Nikola Vucevic and D.J. Augustin combined for 60 points.
Boston 126, Sacramento 120: Kyrie Irving destroyed the Kings with a 31-10-12 game. The Celtics trailed by as many as 17 in the first half.