GAME NIGHT FROM LOS ANGELES: Bulls (3-11, 1-7 on the road) at Lakers ( 7-10, 5-5 at home). 9:30 CT tipoff.
TV: WGN TV : Neil Funk and Stacey King 9:30.
RADIO: WLS 890AM Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 9PM CT pre.
LAST GAME: Suns 113 Bulls 105. Lakers 127 Denver 109.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls : Markkanen: 15ppg. Lakers: Kuzma 16ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 8. Lakers: Ball: 7.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Grant: 5. Lakers: Ball: 7.
LAVINE CLEARED FOR PRACTICE: No time table set for Zach’s return.
“I‘ve got to get my timing, my rhythm , you’ve been out of contact for nine months, it’s not going to come back in two or three practices. Physically I feel really good. My leg feels stronger, my upper body is stronger, I’ve gained about ten pounds and mentally I feel good as well. The main thing is conditioning and timing just for being out that long.” Bulls fans, you are going to love Lavine on/off the court. He’s thoughtful, insightful and has a great sense of humor.
CCI SCOUTING REPORT: The focus of course is on the second overall pick, Lonzo Ball who registered his second triple double in the past five games , Sunday against the Nuggets. On the season, Ball is averaging eight points, seven rebounds and seven assists. He’s shooting 31% from the floor and 22% from three point range. He is a gifted passer and has a tremendous feel for the game. He makes others around him better and at 20 years young it’s a testament to his poise and maturity. I agree with Lakers executive Magic Johnson on this: Now is not the time to tinker with Ball’s shot. That can wait until the off season if the Lakers and Ball go that route. Ball may be grabbing national headlines on and off the court for obvious reasons (CCI refuses to elaborate..lol) but rookie Kyle Kuzma is on fire shooting 50% from the floor averaging a team high 16 points per game. Kuzma played ball at the University of Utah and was drafted 27th overall in the first round via a trade with the Nets that sent D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn for Brook Lopez and a draft pick (Kuzma) that turned in to a steal for Los Angeles. The amazing thing about Kuzma’s torrid start is he’s actually shooting better at the longer NBA three point line than he did in college, 33% to 30%. THE NBA distance is 23 feet 9 inches, NCAA is 20 feet 9 inches.
The Lakers went through a major front office overhaul in the off season with Magic returning to the franchise in a decision making role with former Lake Forest and University of Michigan standout, Rob Pelinka, a former super agent to NBA stars. It will be interesting to see how they navigate their way through free agency in the off season.
MARKKANEN ON FIRE: The outstanding rookie is shooting 52% the past four games and 43% from three point range the past three. He’s also averaging 19 points 8 rebounds the past three games.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Boston won its 16th straight..Kyrie Irving erupted for a season high 47 points and was absolutely filthy. The Celtics have overcome double digit deficits in three straight games. Dallas drops to 3-15.
The Cavs sent the Pistons a message in Motown....LeBeron with 16 in the 1st quarter...Cavs by 28. Cleveland’s fifth straight win. The Cavs have scored 110 points in each of their eight out of their last nine games.
Shades of yesteryear for Dwight Howard — 25 points, 20 rebounds, 4 blocks.. Frank Kaminsky scored 9 of his 24 points in the 4th quarter.. Hornets over Minnesota.
Philly got 25 from Ben Simmons and beat the Bulls’ next opponent, Utah. The Jazz, a road weary ball club just didn’t have it.
Victor Oladipo is doing some serious hoopin’. He’s crushing it back home in the Hoosier state... 29 points 9 rebounds. 5 assists and 7 steals.. Seriously? Pacers beat the on again-off again Magic.
Make it nine straight losses for the Clippers.. Porzingis with 25.. Knicks win.
DeMarcus Cousins was tossed but Anthony Davis controlled the game with 36 points 15 rebounds as the Pelicans beat OKC.
Denver played without two players and Head Coach Michael Malone (suspended one game by NBA) but blasted the Kings.
Memphis lost its fifth straight.. a win for the Blazers.
Other NBA winners included the Wizards and Spurs.
Thanks for reading CCI. E mail me at email@example.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls.
Always a pleasure !