Nikola Mirotic #44 of the Chicago Bulls goes in for a layup

Chuck's Daily Check In 12.17.17

Chuck Checks In On The Bulls and Around The NBA

The Bulls will enjoy a two day gap before returning to action Monday hosting Philadelphia.

The resurgent Bulls are riding the crest of hitting timely shots, making plays for each other and trusting each other playing terrific defense. The Bulls have become the first team in NBA history to follow up a 10 game losing streak or longer with a winning streak of 5 games or more. Thanks to Elias Sports for that nugget of information.

Let's examine the play of Niko Mirotic since returning to the active list:

In his first game On December 8th, Niko played 15 minutes off the bench scoring 6 points and collecting 3 rebounds.

Game two vs NY: 19 points ( 6-10, 5-8 -3s) - 3 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

With Lauri Markkanen experiencing back spasms, Head Coach Fred Hoiberg had to make a tough decision. Do you start Mirotic or Bobby Portis. Portis has found a comfort zone off the bench playing center so Hoiberg made the call- and the right one to start Niko.

Against Boston, Mirotic's minutes increased to 32. He responded with a 24 points 8 rebounds game.

Two night's later vs Utah, 35 minutes with a 29-9 game.

At Milwaukee, 22 points 8 rebounds including a clutch three point play near the end of the game to seal the deal. He's made 9 out of his last 11 from the line.

Mirotic's last four games: 23ppg. 7 rebounds. 57%fg. 51%-3pt fg.

His last 3 since replacing Markkanen in the starting lineup: 25pts 8 reb. 3-3 pointers per game and 1 steal per contest.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Melo returned to MSG. And had a tough night at the office going 5-18 fgs...settling for 12 points in an OKC 111-96 loss to the Knicks who played without Kristaps Porzingis. Michael Beasley had a 30-5-4 game as the Knicks improved to 16-13 and the on again/off again Thunder dropped to 14-15, 5-11 on the road.

Russell Westbrook has recorded at least 10 triple-doubles in the regular-season for four consecutive seasons. Longest such streak by an NBA player since Magic Johnson did so from 1987-'91.

LeBron collected his 60th career double-double passing Larry Birth for sixth all time as the Cavs beat Utah by nine. The Jazz will be without center Rudy Gobert for a month with a knee injury. Derrick Favors also missed the game with a left eye laceration. Cavs Head Coach Ty Lue earned his 100th career win.

The Rockets won their 13th straight and improved to 24-4 as Harden/Paul combined for 56 points in a four point home court win over the Bucks. Chris Paul is now 14-0 as a member of the Rockets.According to reports the Bucks are releasing Gary Payton ll and will sign Sean Kilpatrick.

Former Bull, Isaiah Canaan hit three free throws with six seconds left as the Suns stunned Minnesota 108-106. Canaan finished with 15 points in his first game as a Sun. Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said Jimmy Butler is dealing with back issues. Taj Gibson and KAT each played forty minutes. Wiggins and Butler each played thirty-seven.

Jason Richardson with 28 as the Heat beat LAC.

The good news...Marc Gasol had a 30-10 game...the bad news if you're a fan of the Grzz..they lost..again. Boston gets it done, 102-93.

The Spurs scored the final 13 points of the game and beat Dallas by two. The Mavericks fell to 1-15 in games in which the score was within five points in the final five minutes.

Portland won its third straight road game as the wheels are off the Hornets who fell to 10-19. The Hornets suffered their 13th straight loss in games decided by three points.

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

Always a pleasure!

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