Chuck's Daily Check In: 11.27.17

Chuck reflects on last night's game against the Heat

FINAL FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Miami 100 Bulls 93.
Bulls: 3-15, 2-5 at home.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Grant 24pts ( career high). Heat: Dragic: 24.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Valentine: 13 (career high) Heat: Whiteside: 9.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Valentine: 7 (career high) Heat: J. Johnson 6.

TURNING POINT: Late 4th quarter the Heat pulled away with Wayne Ellington knocking down three point shots along with the play of James Johnson, Goran Dragic. Heat Head Coach Eric Spoelstra sat Hassan Whiteside and Dion Waiters at crunch time and let Johnson and Ellington play on.

STAT OF THE NIGHT: Chicago 13 Miami 7, at the end of the first quarter. No, not a battle between the Bears and Dolphins... the Bulls and Heat. Neither team could make a shot. I’ve done a ton of games in my life but honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever called twelve minutes like that one!

How do you explain that first quarter score, Denzel Valentine?
“Early game for one, guys were a little sluggish, maybe, so it took a little while to get going."

On the game itself: “We took a step forward at least. In the past two games we started good then when adversity hits we shut down but today we fought through some adversity. We just didn’t make plays when we needed to in the second half. They hit big shots. I think we played well but we need to keep learning how to finish games." - Valentine

CHUCK CHECKS IN 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: Fans don’t want to hear excuses but a long week on the road coupled with physical fatigue was in play for the Bulls in the first quarter. The Bulls competed... period. Not exactly sure what happened to the Heat in the opening period but the bottom line is the Bulls did play with effort only to see the Heat make plays at crunch time. Jerian Grant has scored 62 points the past three games. Valentine was exceptional flirting with triple double numbers and finished with an impressive 14 points and career highs in both rebounds (13) and assists (7).

NWABA SET TO RETURN? The Bulls are hoping forward David Nwaba can resume practicing with the team this afternoon after missing the last ten games with an ankle injury. The Bulls miss his defense, rebounding and energy.

UP NEXT: Tuesday at home vs. Phoenix.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES:

Memphis lost its eighth straight, longest skid since 2009 as the Nets won for the seventh time this season, 98-88. Marc Gasol was benched in the fourth quarter and is NOT a happy camper this morning.

The T-Wolves pounced on the Suns who played without Devin Booker 119-108. Minnesota recorded 32 second chance points.

Denver’s Paul Milsap underwent left wrist surgery and will be sidelined several months. The Bulls are in the “Mile High City” Thursday.

Houston is outscoring opponents by an average of 16.6 points per game this month.

Great news for the Spurs and NBA fans as the Spurs announced veteran Tony Parker will return from his quad injury tonight against Dallas.

Hall of Fame Center Hakeem Olajuwon says he’d like to work with Kristaps Porzingis on his post game. If I’m Porzingis, I’m going to the “Dream” and telling him, “Sign me up!”

So here’s my Hakeem Olajuwon story for you. In the 2001 off season, fresh off an EC semi final appearance, the Raptors went for it and made a trade with the Rockets acquiring Hakeem for draft picks. Olajuwon and the Rockets couldn’t agree on a deal and the Raptors were more than willing to overpay to grab a title with Vince Carter entering his prime. I'm not sure of Olajuwon’s age at the time but one could easily see in training camp that he had seen his better days and in fact suffered an injury in pre season. None the less, Hakeem is all class and was always respectful; never a bad word to say about anyone and treated every employee with dignity and professionalism.

One morning at a shoot around in Philadelphia someone tossed a soccer ball on the practice court and Olajuwon put on a display of soccer brilliance. It was mesmerizing. I was in awe watching Olajuwon’s precision and skill. As you know, Hakeem played soccer in Nigeria before moving to the United States to play basketball at the University of Houston. Hakeem‘s agility, mobility and incredible soccer footwork carried over to basketball, a sport he didn’t pick up until the age of 17. So a word of advice to any NBA player regardless of height, shape, etc. If Olajuwon reaches out to you..accept ASAP!

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

Always a pleasure!

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