GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Boston (14-10, 7-7 on the road) at Bulls (6-20, 4-9 at home)
TV: WGN TV - Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7PM CT.
RADIO: 670 The Score - Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 6:45PM CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 24 ppg. Boston: Irving: 22ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Carter, Markkanen, Parker each with 7 per. Boston: Tatum: 6 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: LaVine: 5 per. Boston: Irving: 6 per.
LAST MEETING: In Boston, November 14, 2018. Boston 111, Bulls 82. The Bulls shot 39% and went to the line only nine times. All 5 Celtics starters scored in double figures. Boston collected 12 steals.
CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls will need to duplicate last night’s energy as they take on the rejuvenated Celtics who have won four straight. The Celtics offense is humming along reaching the 115 point mark in four consecutive games for the first time since December of 1990. The Bulls must protect the ball and be aware of Kyrie Irving’s extraordinary ability to break down his man off the dribble and pass it to an open teammate. Zach LaVine with seven assists last night is setting the tone when he draws a crowd. It was the sixth time in the last eight games LaVine has recorded at least seven assists. Lauri Markkanen is going to be a force in the NBA for years to come. He is a future All-Star. Book it. His ability to shoot the three is just a slice of his offensive repertoire. He can post up and put the ball on the floor in addition to bringing the ball over the eight second line.
FINAL FROM UNITED CENTER: Bulls 114, OKC 112.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 25 points. OKC: Westbrook: 24 points.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen and Parker each with 7. OKC: Westbrook: 17.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: LaVine: 7. OKC: Westbrook: 13.
CCI RECAP: A thriller in Chicago as Lauri Markkanen‘s drive to the rim with 4.9 seconds scored the go ahead and winning hoop as the Bulls held their collective breath watching Paul George miss an open topside three as time expired. Markkanen and LaVine combined for 49 points, 15 in the fourth quarter. Justin Holiday and Markkanen each drained four treys. Jabari Parker and Robin Lopez were terrific off the bench as the Bulls snapped a seven game slide.
CCI IN THE LOCKEROOM: “We have to learn how to win. I thought we did that.” - Head Coach Jim Boylen
CCI GAME BALLS: Too many to name but props to Ryan Arcidiacono for diving, sacrificing his body to keep the ball in play on the base line 94 feet away that led to a Bulls bucket. Robin Lopez was outstanding off the bench with 11. Tough defense by Shaq Harrison on Russell Westbrook in the fourth quarter.
CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES
Golden State, 105 Milwaukee 95. A quality road win for the Warriors. The Warriors go 3-2 on their five game road swing as Thompson and Curry each scored 20 points. The Bucks went 7 of 39 (18%) from three point range. Draymond Green missed his 11th straight game with a sprained right toe.
Brooklyn 106, Toronto 105 OT. After blowing a 23 point second half lead on Wednesday to Oklahoma City the Nets ended an eight game slide beating the top team in the East if not all of the NBA. The Nets beat the Raps for the first time since 2015.
Memphis 107, New Orleans 103. The Grizzlies scored 26 points off 18 Pelicans turnovers.
Sacramento 129, Cleveland 110. De’Aaron Fox had 30 points and 12 assists. Buddy Hield added 25. The Cavs traded George Hill to the Bucks in exchange for John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova and two picks in 2021. The Kings have won three straight and improved to 13-11.
Charlotte 113, Denver 107. Paul Millsap suffered a right foot injury and early reports indicate a possible broken toe.
Philadelphia 117, Detroit 111. Jimmy Butler with 26 of his 38 in the second half. Butler had 38 Wednesday against the Raptors.
Miami 115, Phoenix 98. The Heat opened up a six game road trip bouncing the free falling Suns who saw their record go to 4-22, losers of eight straight.
San Antonio 133, Los Angeles Lakers 120. DeMar DeRozan with a 36 points 9 assists game as eight Spurs scored in double figures. Hard to believe but the season matchup between the Spurs-Lakers is over with San Antonio winning the series 3-1. LeBron James was listed as a rookie in the Spurs game notes. LOL.
Indiana 112, Orlando 90. The Pacers beat the Magic for the eighth straight time and 15 out of 16 meetings. The Pacers were hit with a bout of food poisoning that prevented Domantas Sabonis from playing against the Magic.