auri Markkanen #24 of the Chicago Bulls passes the ball against the Orlando Magic as part of the NBA Mexico Games 2018 on December 13, 2018 at Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico.

Chuck's Daily Check In - 12.21.18

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

GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER: Orlando (14-16, 6-7 on the road) at Bulls (7-25, 4-12 at home)
TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Neil Funk and Stacey King: 7PM tipoff.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6:45 pre.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Parker: 15ppg. Orlando: Vucevic: 20ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 7 per game. Orlando: Vucevic 11 per game.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 5 per game. Orlando: Augustin: 4 per game.

LAST MEETING: December 13, 2018 in Mexico City.

Orlando 97, Bulls 91: Nikola Vucevic was fantastic, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He hit the go-ahead hoop with 28 seconds left and that was the ballgame. The Bulls shot 48% from the floor and 55% from 3 point range... terrific numbers. However, seven missed free throws and 18 turnovers were determining factors in the loss.

CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls played with grit and toughness in their Wednesday loss to Brooklyn and they can build on that against an Orlando team that surrendered a season-high 129 points in their 39-point home loss to the Spurs. Nikola Vucevic is having a career season in points (20ppg) and rebounding (11 per). This club needs a front line point guard to have a legitimate shot at the post season. Look for the Bulls to involve Lauri Markkanen more in the offense. He took only one field goal attempt and failed to score in the final three quarters.

PORTIS UPDATE: Bobby Portis injured his right ankle in the fourth quarter of the Bulls game vs. the Brooklyn Nets last night. An MRI and repeat physical exam were performed this morning, and he was diagnosed with a sprained ankle. Portis will be out two-to-four weeks.

CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Los Angeles Clippers 125, Dallas 121: Lou Williams is back for LAC after missing four games and that spells trouble for opponents. The outstanding, two-time "Sixth Man of the Year" award winner scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. Luka Doncic (Rookie of the Year?) scored a season-high 32 for the Mavs.

Miami 101, Houston 99: The Heat ended the Rockets five-game win streak. Houston lost more than a game; Chris Paul exited the game with a hamstring injury. An MRI is scheduled for today.

Aron Baynes will be sidelined 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a broken left hand. Big-time loss for the Celtics. Boston already thin with Al Horford’s ongoing injury issues.

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

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