Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls high fives his teammates during the game against the Washington Wizards on March 20, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Chuck's Daily Check In - 03.22.19

Chuck checks in with his Friday morning thoughts on the Bulls

An off day for the Bulls... the schedule resumes tomorrow as the Bulls go for their third straight win against the Utah Jazz.

Idle thoughts on a Friday morning.

The Bulls have nine games left, lots of anticipation and excitement for the off season but my personal goal has never wavered, and that’s to call an NBA Finals game. The Bulls are building something and in my heart I know they will get there.

This from Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago: Shaq Harrison trails only Nerlens Noel (5.1) in deflections per 36 minutes (3.9) among qualified players. He's first in the NBA in steals per 36 minutes (2.4) and his average defensive speed of 4.49 mph leads the league.

Ryan Arcidiacono is another fantastic story of perseverance, dedication, hard work and yes, the man can flat out play. He is an NBA player. Period.

Kris Dunn had a solid game of 26-6-13 against the Wizards and regardless of the outcome of a game, Dunn is always straight up with reporters. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.

Lauri Markkanen had a nice first quarter vibe to his game against Washington and he sustained it throughout including a big-time three in OT. Markkanen is the first to admit he can be better - and he will. In my opinion, the Bulls have two legit players who could represent the EC in next year’s All Star Game in Chicago in Markkanen and Zach LaVine.

Despite the Bulls record, there are a number of positive storylines including the play of Robin Lopez who is well-respected by the organization and throughout the NBA. Regardless what happens in the off season, "RoLo" has solidified himself as a player that will be enticing to a number of teams when free agency starts July 1.

Cristiano Felicio has put together a nice stretch of games as he will take to the floor tomorrow night coming off a 15 points, six rebounds game against the Wizards. Felicio had a 10-8 game against the Suns and 10 rebounds against the Kings.

Who comes out of the Eastern Conference? I vacillate on this one. One week I really like Toronto. The next Milwaukee. What? Wait...Bucks are banged up. Ok, Toronto- no Philly. Can Boston turn it on?

MVP? It’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. James Harden will be runner-up. Luka Doncic wins Rookie of the Year. Most Improved? Another tough call. Pascal Siakam or D’Angelo Russell? Sixth Man Award? Done deal - Lou Williams.

Coach of the Year? So many worthy candidates. Who will win? Mike Budenholzer of the Bucks. Who should win? Michael Malone of Denver.

GM of the Year? Who will win: Jon Horst - Milwaukee. Who should win: Masai Ujiri.

CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Atlanta 117, Utah 114: A wild game as the Hawks bagged win #25. Trae Young scored 23 points and dished out 11 assists. Donovan Mitchell ripped the nets for 34 points. The Jazz are in Chicago on Saturday.

Golden State 112, Indiana 89: The Pacers have lost eight straight road games.

Denver 113, Washington 108: The Wizards have lost three straight and are six games out of the eighth seed with nine left. Denver has won five straight.

Charlotte 113, Minnesota 106: Both teams are playing it out. Charlotte’s Miles Bridges registered his first career double-double.

Sacramento 116, Dallas 100: Marvin Bagley III picked up his 14th double-double of the season. The Mavs have lost 15 of 17.

Detroit 118, Phoenix 98: The Pistons made 17- 3 pointers. Detroit remains in the sixth seed having won three of four.

Welcome back Jimmer Fredette. The former Bull - yes, he played for the Bulls (eight games in 2014) - rejoined the NBA by signing with the Phoenix Suns. Fredette was not only productive in China but extremely popular. Fredette was a former lottery pick (tenth overall) in 2011.

Thanks for reading CCI. Reach out at cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls. Always a pleasure!

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