NOVEMBER 15: Jerian Grant #2 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 15, 2017 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Chuck's Daily Check In 11.16.17

Chuck Swirsky recaps the Bulls loss in Oklahoma City and provides news and notes around the NBA

FINAL: OKC - 92, Bulls - 79. Thunder (7-7, 6-2 at home), Bulls (2-10, 1-6 on road)

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Blakeney and Markkanen each with 16. Thunder: Westbrook - 21.
LEADING REBOUNDER: Bulls: Portis - 7. Thunder: Anthony and Grant each with 11.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn and Grant each with 3. Thunder: Westbrook - 7

TURNING POINT: For the third straight game, an opponent led wire to wire. OKC jumped on the Bulls holding the Bulls to a franchise first quarter low of seven points. The Bulls trailed 27-7 and the Thunder never looked back.

With Justin Holiday absent celebrating the birth of his daughter, the Bulls went with Jerian Grant and Kris Dunn in the starting backcourt and they combined to go 6 of 16 with 6 turnovers. Quincy Pondexter made his first start in three years and went 0-4 from the floor and finished with four points.

CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: The Bulls obviously need to play better from the opening tip. The Bulls had great looks, open looks and the ball wouldn't drop. The Bulls shot 2-15 in the first quarter. As Coach Hoiberg stated afterward, it becomes a confidence issue and as a young club you can't get down...you have to play through it. Playing one of the top teams in the NBA leaves little margin for error and this game was over quickly.

BLAKENEY SHINES: In his second NBA game, Antonio Blakeney, who is working on a two way contract with the Windy City Bulls of the G-League, played 22 minutes and scored 16 points. He can create his own shot and can get to the line. Expect him to stay in the rotation. Props to Lauri Markkanen for a strong 16-6 game.

UP NEXT: Home with Charlotte, Friday.


NBA NEWS AND NOTES:

Joel Embiid - Ben Simmons. Ben Simmons - Joel Embiid. Who cares who gets top billing. They are franchise players. Impact players. Game changers. As fans who love the game, let's hope they stay healthy. Last night in a long awaited showdown of 76ers-Lakers, Embiid went off on LA with robust numbers of 46 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 blocks. He's the first player to record those numbers since Dr. J in 1982! Embiid went 16 of 19 from the line. Simmons nearly had a triple double: 18 points, 9 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals. Philly has won 8 of its last 11. Lonzo Ball didn't play in the 4th quarter for the second straight game. He went 1-9 from the floor and missed all six of his three point field goal attempts.

The Hornets lost their fifth straight. The Cavs turned it up and won at Charlotte.

Just a good old fashion Central Division rivalry game, Bucks beat the Pistons. Milwaukee now 4-0 after picking up Eric Bledsoe who was terrific at crunch time for Jason Kidd's team.

Tim Hardaway Jr. is silencing critics who trashed the Knicks for signing the veteran from Michigan to a 4 year, $71 million free agent contract. Hardaway is hoopin' as he led the Knicks past the slumping Jazz. Hardaway Jr. with 26 including "onions" with the game on the line at crunch time. The way he's playing, maybe we can suit him up for Jim Harbaugh's football team Saturday against Wisconsin! Go Blue!

The Hawks won their first home game of the season and took out their frustration on the lowly Kings by a whopping 46 points. This is NOT a CCI typo...46 points. The Kings dropped to 3-12. I thought Sac would compete for a playoff spot...I admit one month into the season, I am flat out wrong.

K-Low nearly recorded a triple-double as the Raps beat the Pelicans in New Orleans. Had DeMar DeRozan hit that turn around foul line jumper in Boston, Toronto would have won against the Celtics, Rockets and Pels all in a matter of four days on the road. None the less, impressive few days for "We the North".

Darren Collison had a season high 30 points. The Pacers beat the Conley-less Grizzlies by 3.

John Wall is John Wall...love the guy - Wiz win in Miami.

Remember Shabazz Napier? Yes, THAT Shabazz Napier, of Final 4 fame...the guy LeBron personally urged Pat Riley to draft for the Heat. Then Napier's journey took him to Orlando and Portland. He's been playing well of late for the Blazers. He had a big game off the bench last night scoring 19 as the Blazers beat Orlando.

KAT celebrated his 22nd birthday with a monster 26-16 game as Minnesota beat the Spurs.

Thanks for reading CCI. Reach me at cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls

Always a pleasure!

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