Lauri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball during the game against Dennis Schroder #17 of the Oklahoma City Thunder on December 17, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Chuck's Daily Check In - 12.19.18

Chuck previews tonight's game against the Nets and shares updates from around the NBA

GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Brooklyn (14-18, 7-8 on the road) at Bulls (7-24, 4-11 at home)

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Markkanen and Parker each averaging 15 ppg. Nets: Russell: 18 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen and Portis each avg. 7 per game. Nets: Allen and Davis each with 8 per game.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 5 per game. Nets: Russell: 6 per game.

CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls play three of the next four games at the UC as Head Coach Jim Boylen continues to stress fundamentals, conditioning and execution. Without Zach LaVine,the Bulls have simply struggled offensively. There is no other way of putting it. If any team (the exception being Golden State) removes 23-25 points out of your every day lineup, sooner or later it's going to take a toll. Until LaVine returns, the offense must continue to find ways of putting points on the board. Lauri Markkanen is option #1, so expect him to draw a number of double team assignments from the opposition. I've been impressed with Kris Dunn's ability to get to the rim and the Bulls will need plenty of that and more until LaVine returns and even when Zach is on the court, the Bulls need to attack the basket.

Don't look now but Brooklyn has won six straight following a thrilling 115-110 over the Lakers. The last time the Nets won six straight games was in 2015. The Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie is having another outstanding season leading the NBA in scoring off the bench averaging nearly 18 points per game. He recently got paid 3 years-34 million and I'm thrilled for him. He is a legit candidate once again for Most Improved Player and Sixth Man Award. D'Angelo Russell has found a home with the Nets and was sensational against the Lakers.

After an emotional win over the Lakers and a quick back to back with travel, late arrival, etc. how will the Nets come out tonight? Stay tuned!

CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Brooklyn 115, Los Angeles Lakers: Russell with 22 points and 13 assists. From the YES Network stat department… Jarrett Allen with a huge rejection on LeBron James, who has attempted more than 1,800 dunks over the course of his career, but has only been blocked 9 times.

Tampering, anyone? LeBron James says it would be "amazing" if the Lakers landed Anthony Davis.

Cleveland 92, Indiana 91: Larry Nance Jr.'s tip in at the buzzer lifted the Cavs to a stunning road win. Nance finished with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Denver 126, Dallas 118: As I've said all along, Nikola Jokic is the best kept secret in the NBA and he will be an All-Star… book it. 32 points, 16 rebounds. Jamal Murray with a career-high 15 assists as the Nuggets win their seventh straight home game.

Atlanta 118, Washington 110: John Collins was terrific with a 20-13-3 game. The Hawks win for the seventh time this season. Atlanta's Vince Carter moved up to 7th all time on three pointers made. After beating the Lakers Sunday, the Wizards suffered a bad loss and fall to 12-19.

RIP Penny Marshall. An extremely gifted person who loved and I mean loved the NBA.

Thanks for reading CCI. Reach out to cswirsky@bulls.com or Twitter: @ctsbulls. Always a pleasure!

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