GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Miami (6-11, 3-4 on the road) at Bulls (5-13, 3-7 at home).
TV: WGN TV. Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7PM
RADIO: 670 The Score. Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine 25ppg. Miami: Richardson: 20 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Carter Jr.: 7 per. Miami: Whiteside: 14 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Arcidiacono: 4 per game. Miami: Dragic: 4 per game.
CCI PREVIEW: The first of three meetings (two in Chicago) between the two teams will feature another test for rookie Wendell Carter Jr. taking on Miami’s Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside is second in the NBA in rebounding, averaging nearly 15 per game. He’s had big games against the Bulls and the key for Carter Jr. is to avoid getting in early foul trouble. It’s easier said than done but I do know that Carter Jr. is very capable of creating matchup problems for Whiteside, opening up the lane for Zach LaVine to get to the rim. Goran Dragic will miss the game as he had his right knee drained several days ago and it’s a huge loss for Miami. Tyler Johnson is out with a right hamstring injury. Dion Waiters has missed the entire season with an ankle injury. The Heat have been inconsistent this season shooting just 40% on drives, a league worst. Miami is shooting 71% from the line - 26th in the NBA. Last year, Miami started 11-30 and finished the second half of the season 30-11, making the playoffs only to lose to the 76ers in the opening round. Not sure they can replicate that amazing turnaround should they fall deeper in the standings.
In Wednesday’s win over Phoenix, the Bulls had enough offense to get it done led by Jabari Parker and Zach LaVine coupled with the outside shooting of Ryan Arcidiacono and Justin Holiday. I’m expecting the Bulls to have another strong effort tonight and hopefully take advantage of a Miami team seeking an identity through the first 17 games of the season. I love the play of Ryan Arcidiacono. He hustles, plays hard, sacrifices his body diving for loose balls, taking charges (5 this season) and his confidence knowing knocking down jumpers come through hard work. Reserve guard Shaq Harrison brings toughness to the mix and the Bulls have fed off his enthusiasm.
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
The NBA took Thanksgiving off but resumes today with a whopping 14 games scheduled including a noon tip in Brooklyn with the Nets facing T-Wolves, the Bulls opponent on Saturday in Minnesota... Got to love the NBA.