Justin Holiday #7 of the Chicago Bulls moves around a screen by Lauri Markkanen against the Toronto Raptors on October 13, 2017 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.

CHUCK'S DAILY CHECK IN 10.19.17

Tonight's season opener, Chuck reflects, and other notes around the NBA.

by Chuck Swirsky

GAME NIGHT

Bulls at Raptors. 7PM CT Tip.

NBC Sports Chicago: Neil Funk and Stacey King.

RADIO WLS 890AM: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6:30CT Pregame.

BULLS INJURY REPORT

OUT/NWT

  • Kris Dunn (left index finger dislocation)
  • Zach LaVine (left ACL)
  • Nikola Mirotić (concussion and maxillary fractures)
  • Cameron Payne (right foot)
  • Bobby Portis (suspension)

PROBABLE

  • Quincy Pondexter (left hamstring)

BULLS NEWS

PORTIS SUSPENDED EIGHT GAMES: The Chicago Bulls announced today that forward Bobby Portis has been suspended for eight games for the physical altercation with Nikola Mirotić at practice on Oct. 17. Portis will serve the suspension beginning with the team’s season opener at Toronto on Thursday, October 19. Portis will be able to practice with the team during his suspension.

THE QUOTE: “My job is not to let this moment derail us.” - Fred Hoiberg

FLOW OF THE GAME: The Bulls and Raps are focused on ball movement and each team will look to force down-hill pressure on opposing defenses and shoot threes. Lots of 3s !

KEY PLAYERS: Jerian Grant, Justin Holiday, Robin Lopez.

TORONTO FEATURES: DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry. Newcomer C.J. Miles can knock down three point shots. In past Bulls-Raps games, the Raptors have gone to center Jonas Valanciunas early.

OPENING NIGHT FOR MARKKANEN: Lauri is set to become the second player from Finland to play in the NBA, joining Hanno Mottola, who spent two seasons with Atlanta (2000-02).

OPENING NIGHT REFLECTIONS

It’s had to believe but I’m entering my twenty year in the NBA and tenth with the Bulls. I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked for two of the best organizations in sports in the Bulls and Raptors. I called Raptors games for ten seasons before joining the Bulls in 2008.

I am driven because I am living a dream that began as a 5 year old. I take nothing for granted. Nothing. I am driven because I want to thank people for believing in me when many did not. I am driven because I want to encourage and assist women and men in the business, and the best way of doing so is to excel in your given profession without ego or self absorbed adulation. I am driven because I love what I do and I fight hard every day to be better as a person and broadcaster than I was the previous day.

My first broadcast was a pre season game featuring two future Hall of Fame players, playing in their first NBA game of any sort. Ironically that year, the Raptors and Celtics played twice in pre season and opened up the regular season in Boston. The game highlighted Vince Carter and Paul Pierce. Tracy McGrady was entering his second season and it didn’t take long to realize the combination of Carter and McGrady was special. REAL special. As a broadcaster the game came so fast. I had never experienced calling a game with a 24 second shot clock or the incredible athleticism of professional players. I had seen a million NBA games but never called one. Prior to my broadcast, I reached out to a number of NBA announcers for advice and the best advice I received was NO advice. They wanted me to be myself, call what’s in front of me and mention the time and score a lot.

After 18 years calling college games of DePaul University and the University of Michigan it was time to try the NBA, a life long dream of mine from day one. I grew up wanting to be an NBA announcer long before the NBA was popular. My first sports “hero” was Oscar Robertson. I loved the old Cincinnati Royals uniforms and he was an incredible player. I asked for jersey #14 in CYO ball to emulate him and that’s as far as it took me...the jersey number. LOL !

I called radio on the Raptors network for two years followed by a year of simulcast then the next seven seasons on TV. My broadcast partner was Jack Armstrong. He remains one of my closest friends to this day.

I also worked with Leo Rautins who like my current analyst Bill Wennington,rose to Canadian fame as a great Big East player (Syracuse) and went on to play briefly in the NBA before a knee injury claimed his career. Leo knows the game and Raptors’ fans are fortunate to have Leo and Jack commentating.

I am excited about this year’s Bulls team...they will compete, play hard and I am interested to see how these players develop throughout the course of the season. The joy of seeing a player blossom should not be lost as a fan or broadcaster.

NBA NEWS

Carmelo Anthony: Phil Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips.”

Quite a ballgame in DC: Two big time deflections by the Wizards defense in the closing seconds as Washington beat the 76ers. After sitting out last year with an injury, Ben Simmons made his long awaited debut with an 18-10-5 game.

The Suns lost by 48 points at home to Portland. This is NOT a typo.The most one sided loss in the franchise’s 49 year history. My guy, Pat Connaughton scored 24 off the bench for the Blazers.

Detroit’s Stanley Johnson went 0-13 from the floor but finished with a plus 6 in last night’s win over the Hornets. Love the fact the Pistons are now playing ball in the heart of Motown.

D’Angelo Russell scored 30 points in 30 minutes in his Nets debut as the Pacers turned back the clock to their old ABA days winning 140-131. Jeremy Lin left the game with a knee injury.

Celtics now 0-2 without Gordon Hayward. Bucks beat the Celtics, Kylie Irving went 8 for 25 from the floor. Giannis, a legit MVP candidate had 37 points-13 rebounds.

Not the warmest reception for a home game no less in Memphis for the Grizzlies’ Chandler Parsons.

Up next for the Bulls, Saturday at home vs San Antonio. The Spurs beat Minnesota last night 107-99.

Welcome back Eddie O. It was great seeing you where you belong calling hockey games in the booth. You are loved by all and stay strong..I know you will!

Email cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter @ctsbulls.

Always a pleasure and Go Bulls!

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