Players from the Chicago Bulls high five one another during a timeout.

Chuck's Daily Check In - 12.30.18

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

GAME NIGHT FROM TORONTO: Bulls (10-26, 5-13 on the road) at Toronto (26-11, 13-4 at home).
TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Mark Schanowski and Stacey King: 5PM CT.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington and Steve Kashul. 4:45.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine : 23 ppg. Toronto: Leonard: 26 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 7 per. Toronto: Leonard: 8 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 6 per. Toronto : Lowry: 9 per.

LAST MEETING: November 17, 2018 at United Center: Toronto 122, Bulls 83.
Danny Green and Fred Van Vleet carried the Raps who played without Kawhi Leonard.

CCI PREVIEW: The Bulls have won three out of their last four games with the foundation of defense as the priority. The return of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn has dramatically upgraded the roster and the win total. Bobby Portis remains sidelined with an ankle injury. Wendell Carter Jr. set the tone early against the Wizards and finished with an impressive 17 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocked shots game. Tonight marks his 37th NBA game, the exact amount of games he played at Duke for the ENTIRE season. I love Carter’s makeup, his selflessness, his demeanor. This kid is going to be really good and paired with Lauri Markkanen, the Bulls are in great shape for the future.

Toronto is poised to win the Eastern Conference. Despite Friday’s loss at Orlando, the Raps led by MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, post the second-best record in the NBA at 26-11. Toronto ownership took a risk acquiring Leonard trading the popular DeMar DeRozan to the Spurs. Leonard is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year and I applaud the Raptors mindset; they’re simply tired of losing in the EC semi finals or finals. Their goal is to get to the NBA finals. The Raps have drafted and traded well and it’s all come together. If I’m an EC contender I do not want to play Toronto in a seventh game on the road. The fan base here is incredible.

CCI 24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Milwaukee 129, Brooklyn 115: Giannis is ballin'. Simple as that. 31-10-10. The Bucks extended their NBA best record to 25-10, seven of eight.

Houston 108, New Orleans 104: James Harden scored 41 points becoming the first NBA player since Oscar Robertson to record at least 35 points and five assists in seven consecutive games. Harden with three consecutive 40-point games.

Washington 130, Charlotte 126: The Wizards without John Wall (season-ending heel surgery) had seven players score in double figures. Kemba Walker scored 47 in a losing cause.

Boston 112, Memphis 103: The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead. Kyrie Irving 26 points and 13 assists.

Atlanta 111, Cleveland 108: The Hawks have won five out of their last six games. Vince Carter at 41 scored 21 points.

Utah 129, New York 97: The Knicks trailed by as many as 40.

San Antonio 122, Los Angeles Clippers 111: LaMarcus Aldridge 38 points and 7 rebounds. DeMar DeRozan with a 25-13-6 assists game. The Spurs have won five of their last seven games.

Golden State 115, Portland 105: After losing at home to the Blazers two nights ago, Golden State got 32 from Klay Thompson. Damian Lillard scored 40 points for the fifth time this season.

Denver 122, Phoenix 118: The Nuggets Jamal Murray scored 46 points despite an injured right ankle. He buried nine-threes.

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

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