Bulls update: Both Kris Dunn and Bobby Portis went through full practice today. No target dates on their return.
I replayed the Bulls-Pacers game on Wednesday (yes, truth be told I am a basketball junkie but you already know that) and I saw some very positive signs despite the loss.
I liked the bounce in their step on defense. I saw an engaged defensive team. I liked the looks the Bulls had - but I also think attacking the rim on a number of occasions should have been a priority over long jump shots. The Bulls failed to get to the foul line in the second half and took a total of five the entire game. Head Coach Jim Boylen knows the importance is fundamentals and backing up his coach speak with real actions. Holding players accountable is vital.
CCI Quote of the Day: Bobby Portis regarding his knee: "I feel great. It feels way better than it did at first. I was pretty scared. First injury my whole life so I didn't know how to take it. Now I feel good - just feels good to go out there and play basketball at a high level, compete, have fun."
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Toronto 113, Philadelphia 102: Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the Eastern Conference and it's not even close. He destroyed the 76ers, scoring 36 points and grabbing 9 rebounds. Jonas Valanciunas for good measure added 26. Jimmy Butler with a season high 38 points 10 rebounds stat line. The Raps remain the best team in the NBA. Philly has lost 13 straight games in Toronto.
OKC 114, Brooklyn 112: Paul George went off for 47 points - 25 in the 4th quarter... a major meltdown for the Nets who blew a 23-point second half lead. George also pulled down 15 rebounds. Russell Westbrook notched his 108 career triple-double passing Jason Kidd who ironically came in to his own as an NBA player with the Nets. The Thunder play the Bulls Friday at the United Center.
Golden State, 129 Cleveland 105: No national TV for this one for obvious reasons. Steph Curry with 42-9-7.
Washington 131, Atlanta 117: John Wall missed the game for personal reasons. Bradley Beal was sensational... 36-9-9. The Wizards dished out a season high 35 assists. The Hawks have lost three straight and go to 5-20.
Denver 124, Orlando 118 OT: The Nuggets won their seventh straight. Jamal Murray with 31 for Denver.
The Magic failed to take free throws in the first three quarters of the game.
Minnesota 121, Charlotte 104: The T- Wolves are 9-3 (6 of 7) in their last 12 games since the Jimmy Butler trade. Minnesota with another double-digit deficit rally to win a game. KAT with 35.
Milwaukee 115, Detroit 92: Khris Middleton missed the game for personal reasons. The Bucks are 12-2 at home.
New Orleans 132, Dallas 106: We know Anthony Davis can score and rebound (27points) - but he set a career high in assists with 9.
Memphis 96, Los Angeles Clippers 86: In the "Grind House" in Memphis, the Clippers felt the defensive pressure of the Grizzlies scoring a season low 86 points, turning the ball over 19 times and shooting 34%. Joakim Noah played his first game since signing with Memphis earlier this week. He played 13 minutes and scored 4 points.
Los Angeles Lakers 121, San Antonio 113: LeBron James scored 42-20 in the 4th quarter. LA's Brandon Ingram sprained an ankle in the first quarter and did not return. The Spurs are giving up a ton of points. DeRozan and Gay combined for 33. San Antonio has lost 7 of 10.
Former NBA player and head coach Derek Fisher is the new head coach of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks.