Chuck's Daily Check In 12.18.17

Chuck checks in on the Bulls and tells us what's happening around the League

GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Philadelphia (14-14, 7-7 on the road) at Bulls: (8-20, 5-8 at home).

TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Neil Funk and Stacey King. 7PM CT
Radio: WLS 890 AM: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul 6:30 CT pre.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Mirotic 20 ppg. (5) Markkanen: 14ppg. Philadelphia: Embiid: 24 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 8 Philadelphia: Embiid: 11 rebounds.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 5. Philadelphia: Simmons 7.

BULLS UPDATE: The streaking Bulls look for their sixth straight win. The Bulls will have a morning shoot around. Lauri Markkanen is listed as questionable for the game.

PORTIS PRODUCING: The big man from Little Rock, Arkansas, is averaging 61% over the past five games, and in that span averaging 15 points and 6 rebounds. He’s coming off a career high in points, scoring 27 at Milwaukee. Portis also recorded his third double-double of the season with 12 boards.

THE STREAK CONTINUES: Joel Embiid will not play Monday. In his 54 career games, he’s yet to play the Bulls. The 76ers medical update lists Embiid as "back tightness and load management" (back to back medical restriction).

I have seen Embiid play in person, and he’s worth the price of admission. It occurred last year on an off night for the Bulls in Philadelphia, as the 76ers played Memphis and he was sensational. He is an "A" list player and on court entertainer as well. He talks trash, he plays to the crowd and has pure hoops joy. Bring it on!

Veteran Trevor Booker will be out for 5-7 days with an ankle injury. The acquisition of Booker was a solid addition by GM Bryan Colangelo.

CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: Everything and I mean everything regarding 76ers basketball is built around the core play of Joel Embiid. Ben Simmons will win Rookie of the Year honors, unless there is a total collapse in his game. Number one overall pick Markelle Fultz basically has a red shirt year, as did Embiid (2) and Simmons. Robert Covington has developed into a solid player, and Dario Saric appears to be on his way to having a long NBA career. The addition of JJ Redick has bolstered Philly’s outside shooting, but let me be perfectly clear about the 76ers as they "Trust the Process"; their fortunes will rest on the health of Embiid. Period.

BULLS WITH A BUSY WEEK: Home game tonight with Philadelphia. The Bulls then play three games in four nights before the Christmas Eve/Christmas Day break. At home with the slumping Magic Wednesday, followed by a trip to Cleveland for a Thursday night affair. A day off Friday, then at Boston Saturday.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

The Cavs remain the hottest team in the NBA, winners of 18 out of their last 19 games, featuring three straight doubler-doubles by LeBron James. Cavs on the road win in DC. Who wins MVP? James or Harden?

Shams Charnia of Yahoo Sports is reporting Isaiah Thomas of the Cavs is targeting early January to make his season debut from a hip injury. Thomas is a two-time All Star, and was acquired from Boston in the Kyrie Irving trade.

Another big game for Victor Oladipo, 26-7-3 as the Pacers beat the Nets.

The Pistons hung on for a 114-110 win over the Magic. Don’t look now but Orlando has joined the 20 loss club; not good for a team projected to be a 35-42 win team this season.

Houston’s James Harden, the league’s top scorer and second leading assist man, will play through a sore right knee.

Miami’s James Johnson will miss the next seven to ten days after an MRI on Johnson’s injured right ankle revealed bursitis.

OKC’s Steven Adams is in the NBA concussion protocol and is listed as out for tonight’s game against the Nuggets.

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

Always a pleasure!

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