Chuck's Daily Check In 12.10.17

Chuck Checks In On The Bulls, And Things In And Around The NBA

Final: Bulls 104 (5-20, 3-8 at home) Knicks: 102 (12-13, 1-8 on the road)

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Mirotic: 19pts. Knicks: Porzingis: 23pts
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 8. Knicks: Kanter: 11
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn and Grant each with 9. Knicks: Ntilikina: 7

KEYS TO THE GAME: This came down to the character of the locker-room. Simple as that. Travel issues had the Bulls arriving at 2PM CT., reporting to the UC at 5:30. The coaches did an outstanding job and the players performed an extremely high level with a ton of effort and energy in the second game of a back to back. The Bulls won two straight games for the first time this season, as they hung on despite NY’s torrid fourth quarter rally. Kristaps Porzingis had an open top side three that would have won the game but it rimmed out.

CCI GAME BALL: Bulls bench: 54 points. Niko Mirotic drilled five three point field goals. Jerian Grant - 9 assists. David Nwaba 15 points, 4 rebounds. Bobby Portis - 10 points.

CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: Mutual respect on the part of Markkanen and Porzingis. Lauri played "The Unicorn" as well as you could play him. It will be fun to watch these two battle head on for the next decade. Markkanen is 20 years young. Porzingis is 22. Kris Dunn stroked two big free throws with just over two seconds left, as he finished with another stat-stuffing box score of 17 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 3 steals.

INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM WITH NIKO MIROTIC: "It was a tough day coming in from Charlotte but I said, go out and enjoy playing ball. The goal was to go out and win the game and it was the second game we won ( back to back). I am very happy and hopefully now we can build from this moment."

LAURI MARKKANEN ON PLAYING KRISTAPS PORZINGIS: "It was a lot of fun. I tried to make things as hard as possible for him (10-25 fgs) and for most of the game I think I did a very good job."

BOBBY PORTIS ON TRAVEL ISSUES ARRIVING FROM CHARLOTTE THE DAY OF A GAME: "It wasn’t tough. I treated it like the AAU days. You travel and play the same day. We’re basketball players and you go out there mentally strong and mentally prepared to go out there and try to perform at a high level and I feel that’s what our team did today."

UP NEXT: Home with Boston, Monday.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

A very busy night in the Association so let’s start in Mexico City, as the Heat beat the Nets, and hanging around his old team was none other than Chris Bosh.

CCI will have a couple of triple-double thank you very much courtesy of LeBron James (58th career) in a win over the 76ers. Russell Westbrook with one of his own in the Thunder's victory over Memphis. Not a good vibe with the Grzz.

The Bulls are in Milwaukee Friday night, and the Bucks are gearing up for the Bulls with a mini three game win streak beating Utah. Giannis had a 37-13 game as Utah has now lost three straight.

On the road in Portland, James Harden scored 48 points in 37 minutes. The Rockets go to 20-4, 12-1 on the road.

Last week there was another one of those "unnamed sources" trade rumors that had the Lakers sending Jordan Clarkson to Charlotte. Whether that’s accurate it or not only time will tell, but if there is some validity to that, Clarkson sent a message to the Hornets, scoring 14 of his 22 in the fourth quarter in a Lakers win. The Hornets lost both games at home back to back against the Bulls and LA.

Kawhi Leonard could make his season debut for the Spurs Tuesday in Dallas. In the meantime, the Spurs played without Gasol, Ginobili, Green, and Anderson and still beat the Suns to win their eighth game in the last nine.

For those CCI fans keeping track of standings, wink-wink, on a night the Bulls won, so did ATL.

Lou Williams scored 35 off the bench including the go ahead three ball with 1 second left as the Clippers beat the Wizards.

CCI BUZZER BEATER: It was a crazy 24 hours for the Bulls with travel issues, but the bottom line is the Bulls staff of John Paxson, Karen Stack-Umlauf, John Ligmanowski, Eric Buck, Jeff Tanaka and others made things easier for all of us. I never take anyone for granted, and it was a true team effort for the Bulls to arrive safely for Saturday’s game. Thank you.

It was great catching up with Joakim Noah, Doug McDermott and Charles Oakley. Nothing beats the fraternity of friends that develop over the generation of time in the NBA.

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

Always a pleasure.

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