GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Houston (5-3, 2-2 on the road) at Bulls (3-6, 1-2 at home).
TV: NBCSC: Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7PM.
RADIO: 670 The Score. Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and David Schuster. 6:45 pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 20 ppg. Houston: Harden: 36 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Carter: 8 per. Houston: Westbrook: 8 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Satoransky: 5 per. Houston: Capela: 9 per.
CCI PREVIEW: The plan entering the United Center is to see plenty of offense tonight. The Rockets average 120 points, third in the NBA. However, they give up 121 per contest, second most to New Orleans in the Association. The Bulls average 106 points per game so the table is set for players such as Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen to have great games with their offensive skill set on display. Otto Porter Jr. is out indefinitely with a sprained left foot so the pressure is on for the Bulls to not only execute offensively but to have others step up. It will also allow Markkanen to be a volume shooter. The matchup in the middle will be intriguing as Clint Capela and Wendell Carter Jr. square off.
James Harden will get his touches we know that. He's averaging 36 points per game, tops in the NBA. He takes the most shots per game in the NBA at nearly 24 per game. He also takes a league-high 14 three-point field goal attempts but is shooting only 27% behind the arc. He gets to the line nearly 16 times per game, again, tops in the NBA.
The Rockets changed things up in the off season as they moved Chris Paul to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook who teamed with Harden in the early days in OKC. Westbrook's line: 20-9-8 but shooting 25% from three point range and 62% from the line. How good are the Rockets ? Can they beat the Lakers, Clippers or Denver in a seven game playoff series?
The Rockets lead the NBA in second chance points with 16.5. The Bulls need to get back on defense as Westbrook will leak out and drive the ball down hill. Did you know the Bulls are eighth in the NBA in fast break points at 15.8. Houston: 12th at 15.0.
Tomas Satoransky's career-high 27 points against the Hawks
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
Plenty of activity in the Association.
Los Angeles Lakers 90, Miami 85: The Heat missed 13 straight fourth quarter shots. LeBron James scored 12 of his 25 points in the final period. The Lakers have won seven straight after falling open night to the Clippers.
Brooklyn 119, Portland 115: Damian Lillard scored a career-high 60 for the Blazers but Portland has lost four straight.
Utah 103, Milwaukee 100 OT: Bojan Bogdanovic lit up the Bucks for 33 points including the game winning three point splash at the buzzer. He also went going 10-10 at the line.
Toronto 122, New Orleans 104: Pascal Siakam matched his career high with 44 for the now 6-2 Raps, but it was a costly game. Kyle Lowry suffered a small fracture in the left thumb. Serge Ibaka suffered a sprained right ankle and missed the entire second half. The Pelicans slipped to 1-7.
Indiana 112, Detroit 106: The Pacers are above .500 for the first time this season.
Orlando 118, Memphis 86: Nikola Vucevic with robust numbers of 23-16-6. The Magic outscored the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter 34-8.
Cleveland 113, Washington 100: Seven Cavs scored in double figures. Cleveland won for the first time on the road.
Sacramento 121, Atlanta 109: After beating the Spurs in ATL, the Hawks lost its next two on their home floor.
Minnesota 125, Golden State 119 OT: Andrew Wiggins scored 40 points. D'Angelo Russell scored a career-high 52 points but his Warriors dropped to 2-7.
New York 106, Dallas 102: This is not a typo. A trap game for the Mavs who handed NY only its second win of the season. Luka Doncic with a 38-14-10 game.
Denver 100, Philadelphia 97: Nikola Jokic hit the game winning shot with 1.2 seconds left.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating.
Always a pleasure.