Antonio Blakeney #9 of the Chicago Bulls puts up a shot against Lucas Nogueira #92 of the Toronto Raptors during a preseason game at the United Center on October 13, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Chuck's Daily Check In 11.17.17

Chuck Swirsky previews tonight's game with notes on the Bulls and other teams around the NBA

GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER IN CHICAGO

Charlotte ( 5-8, 1-6 on the road) at Bulls ( 2-10, 1-4 at home).

TV: WGN-TV: Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7PM CT tipoff.
RADIO: WLS 890AM: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul 6:30CT pre.

LAST GAME: Oklahoma City 92 Bulls 79. Cavaliers 115 Hornets 107.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Portis 15ppg. Hornets: Walker: 21ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Portis: 9. Hornets: Howard: 12.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Grant: 6. Hornets: Walker: 6.

INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM: Both teams have dropped their last five games so something has to give tonight. The Bulls simply can't get into a flow offensively because of their inconsistent play at the point but it's also a lack of making shots. Many, many times the Bulls have had great looks and can't complete.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bulls starters need to set the tone and dictate tempo. Playing catch up from a double digit deficit is draining on any team so it's imperative to play with energy and focus. Protecting the ball and valuing possessions is huge. The Bulls need to get a victory before leaving for four straight out west.

LINEUP CHANGES: Justin Holiday is back after welcoming the birth of his daughter. He returns to the starting lineup tonight.

HOIBERG HIGH ON BLAKENEY: The head coach of the Bulls likes what he's seen from rookie guard Antonio Blakeney who can score and score in a hurry. He netted 16 points in 22 minutes against OKC. Coach Hoiberg plans to keep the rookie from LSU in the rotation:

"I thought Blakeney showed some real signs of a guy who can go out and put the ball in the basket which obviously we need in a big way right now. He can create his own shot; he can get to the basket."

SCOUTING REPORT ON THE HORNETS: Nic Batum returned to the lineup making his season debut two nights ago in a home court loss to Cleveland. He's just a solid two way player. Kemba Walker isn't shooting the ball particularly well but he can score and is tenth in the league in assists and without question this is his team. Dwight Howard has struggled the past seven games but if he receives the ball deep near the rim he remains a powerful force. I'm doing my Hornets' notes the other day and I can't believe Howard is just 31 years old. I know he came out of high school at 18 but it seems like he's been in the league since 1962! Head Coach Steve Clifford may be forced to go with a heavy dose of veterans if he expects to reach a top five ranking in the EC.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

A Finals preview in Boston? The Celtics erased a 17 point deficit to beat the Warriors 92-88. It was Boston's 14th straight win. For those asking, the franchise record is 19. Jaylen Brown was fabulous scoring 22. Boston's defense was magnificent the final three quarters holding the Warriors to 60 points. Love Charles Barkley—-the guy is awesome but he threw some serious shade at the Celtics during TNT's halftime show. Barkley doesn't believe Boston can beat the Cavs or Raps and perhaps the Wizards in a playoff series.

Chris Paul returned to the floor since opening night and delivered 10 assists as James Harden fueled the Rockets scoring 48 points as Houston rolled over Phoenix. 142 -116.

The Raptors announced guard Delon Wright suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Pelicans Wednesday. He will not play tonight vs. New York.

From Serena Winters of Spectrum Sports in LA: "This week Luke Walton, (Lakers Head Coach) had all of his players that shoot threes make a commitment to make 100 three-pointers after practice." The Lakers are last in three point field goal percentage at 28%.

Readers of CCI and those who catch me on Bulls radio, know I am a huge Avery Bradley fan. Early on, he was pegged as a defensive force, which is true, however, he's have a terrific offensive year as well for his new team, Detroit. Bradley is averaging nearly 18 points per game shooting 44% from 3point country and 82% at the line. The Pistons are enjoying a fine start ranking second in the EC with a 10-4 mark.

Thanks for reading CCI. You can reach me at cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter @ctsbulls

Always a pleasure!

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