GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER
Sacramento Kings: (6-15, 2-9 on the road) at Bulls: (3-17, 2-6 at home).
TV: NBC Sports Chicago Neil Funk and Stacey King 7PM CT.
RADIO: WLS 890 AM: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 6:30 CT pre.
Bulls: Holiday and Markkanen: 14ppg.
Kings: Randolph and Hield: 12ppg.
Bulls: Markkanen: 8.
Kings: Cauley-Stein-Stein: 6.
Bulls: Grant: 5.
Kings: Fox: 4.
KEYS TO THE GAME: Like the Bulls, the Kings have trouble putting points on the board averaging 94 per game. And like the Bulls, the Kings shooting is near the bottom of the league at 43%. The Kings are well rested with their last game coming Tuesday at home. The Bulls on little sleep following a game last night in Denver must find the resolve to work through the physical and mental strain of a back to back and just get it done. It may not be pretty but the Bulls can get this one.
CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: Not saying this is it, but tonight's game could be Vince Carter's last appearance at the United Center. The 20 year veteran has had a Hall of Fame worthy career and I admit I am totally biased here. Having called Raptors' games when he entered the league in 1998-99, I saw Carter posterize and just destroy and deflate opponents nightly with an array of jaw dropping dunks. He is the greatest dunker in hoops history with all due respect to MJ, Doctor J and Dominque.
LAST NIGHT IN DENVER
Nuggets 111 Bulls 110 - A heart breaker as Will Barton scored a career high 37 with a dazzling reverse lay in with 3 sec left to propel the Nuggets to their 11th straight home court win over the Bulls and 17th of 18 games in games played in Denver against the Bulls. Barton got it done not once but twice as he calmly went to the line after being fouled by Justin Holiday. Denver had no choice of going small in the second half after star center Nikola Jokic suffered a left ankle sprain late in the first half and did not return. Barton went off in the third quarter. The Bulls received outstanding play from Kris Dunn who poured in 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and only one turnover in 26 minutes. Robin Lopez and Lauri Markkanen combined for 40 points and 15 rebounds.
Bulls: Lopez and Markkanen: 20ppg.
Denver: Barton 37 (career high-off bench)
Bulls: Markkanen: 9.
Denver: Faried: 13.
Bulls: Grant: 7.
Nuggets: Jokic: 4.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 61.9%. The Bulls missed eight free throws. The Bulls shot a terrific 53% from the field..but in a close games free throws always come in to play.
DUNN GETTING IT DONE: Last two games, Kris is shooting 70% (19-27) averaging 21 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds,. He's made 5 out of his last 6- 3 point fg attempts.
ZIPSER DELIVERS: It's been a rough start for the second year pro but he had the "mojo" against the Nuggets scoring 11 points off the bench knocking down three, three -point field goals. The 11 points matched his season high.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: Bulls Head Coach Fred Hoiberg: "Our guys fought like hell. Best first quarter of the season and came out with the right mentality. It was good to see Zipser play well and knock down some shots. Kris Dunn was excellent. A lot of good performances."
NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
The red hot Cavs won their tenth straight handing ATL its 17th loss in 21 games. According to reports, the Cavs will be without Iman Shumpert for 6-8 weeks with a knee injury.
Kyrie is Kyrie..what can I say. Legit MVP candidate..35 for the Celtics superstar, as Boston beat an undermanned 76ers team.
Bucks beat the Blazers...stat line "fast break points"- Bucks 16. Portland 0.
Utah...can't say enough about the Jazz...they crushed LAC. 7 Utah players in double figures.
Miami's Hassan Whiteside who hasn't been right for most of the season with a cranky left knee is going to start a rehab program and miss the next week or two.
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