BULLS 123 HORNETS 120. Bulls ( 3-10, 2-4 at home) Hornets ( 5-9, 1-7 on the road).
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Holiday 27, Dunn 22( career high) Hornets: Walker: 47
LEADING REBOUNDER: Bulls: Markkanen 7. Hornets: Howard: 9.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 7. Hornets: Walker 5.
KEYS TO THE GAME: 40 -4th quarter points, need I say more? Holiday with a big time "onions" shot in the waning moments of the game. Markkanen refusing to body up Walker's layup attempt with two seconds left preventing a foul call. I love Markkanen. This kid is going to be special.
CCI GAME BALL: Plenty to go around. Kris Dunn. One turnover- seven assists in 26 minutes. Impressive. 10-16 field goals. Smothering defense with back to back steals and scores. A career high 22 and looked comfortable the entire game. He told me after the game it was a relief ending a five game losing streak. "Everybody played hard. We all played together and came up with stops even though Kemba (Walker) made a lot of baskets, we kept on fighting. It was a great team win."
CCI GAME BALL #2: Justin Holiday celebrating the birth of a daughter poured in 27 draining four, three-point field goals.
CCI GAME BALL #3: Cristiano Felicio. The "Brazilian Bull" set outstanding high screens freeing his teammates to take clean looks.
VALENTINE STARTS: Head Coach Fred Hoiberg has been rotating the small forward position hoping to find the right balance and chemistry and for at least for one night and hopefully more to come, it worked with Valentine making his second start this season in his 70th NBA game. Valentine scored 18 points-grabbed five rebounds and dished out six assists. The combo of Valentine at the three and Markkanen at the four registered 34 points, 12 rebounds, 9 assists and 7 of 15-3s. I'd say that's a pretty good night at the office.
NWABA UPDATE: The Bulls miss David Nwaba. That's an understatement. Hopefully sometime in the near future we will see him back on the floor if he is cleared by the medical staff. Ankle injuries are always a bit finicky so the Bulls will monitor things closely.
UP NEXT: At Phoenix, Sunday.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES
The Suns tuned up for the Bulls with a road win against the Lakers. We know Devin Booker will always get between 20-40 on any given night but Alex Len had a monster night of 17 points and 18 rebounds.. That's right, Alex Len. WOWZA. Lonzo Ball's line 6 points., 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals. Kuzma with 30.
Lance Stephenson scored 13 in the 4th quarter as the Pacers erased a 22 point deficit to beat the Pistons.
The Cavs notched their fourth straight win with an OT victory over the slumping Clippers, losers of seven straight. The Cavs will be without Derrick Rose for the next two-three weeks with recurring ankle issues.
Big time win for the short handed Raps as they destroyed the Knicks.
San Antonio trailed by 23 to OKC and managed to beat the Thunder by three. LaMarcus Aldridge is playing like the Aldridge of the Portland days.
Dallas is 2-14 after losing to Minnesota.
Utah is decimated with injuries and got thumped by the Nets.
Denver scored 146 on the Pelicans. Anthony Davis left the game with a concussion after an inadvertent head butt from Nikola Jokic. For Davis, it's his third career concussion.
John Wall has a sore left knee and may not play Sunday in Toronto. Wall scored only eight points in a home loss to the Heat.
Mike Conley is out indefinitely because of soreness in his left Achilles and heel. Memphis will be severely tested with Conley out of the lineup.
Brooklyn's D'Angelo Russell is out indefinitely after undergoing left knee surgery.
Thanks for reading CCI. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @ctsbulls.
Always a pleasure!