Markkanen runs out of the tunnel for warmups

Chuck's Daily Check In 12.31.17

Chuck Checks In On The Bulls, and Previews Tonight's Game Against Washington

GAME NIGHT FROM WASHINGTON D.C.: Bulls (13-22, 4-14 on the road) at Washington (20-16, 11-6 at home) 2:30 CT tip.

TV: NBC Sports Chicago: Neil Funk and Stacey King 2:30 CT tipoff.
RADIO: WLS 890 AM. Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, and Steve Kashul. 2PM CT pre.

LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Mirotic: 18 ppg. Washington: Beal: 22.9 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 7. Washington: Gortat: 8.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Dunn: 5. Washington: 8.

CCI KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bulls need to get back on transition defense when John Wall accelerates with the ball after missed or made baskets. He is a blur with the ball, and has the rare abilities to score and pass, which makes him a four-time All Star. He’s averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds. Bradley Beal averages nearly 23 points per game and takes nearly 19 shots per game; Closeouts are important. Beal and Wall are starting together for the sixth consecutive season. Otto Porter Jr. got paid big time in the offseason, based on his breakout year a season ago. He is a terrific wing player, averaging 14 points and 6 rebounds per game. The "X factor" for the Wizards is Kelly Oubre, a former first round pick out of Kansas. Oubre scored 21 points in Friday’s win over the Rockets, and he’s scored at least 10 points in seven consecutive games, the longest streak of his career. He’s a developing player who competes on both sides of the ball. This is going to be an excellent test for the Bulls and one as well for the Wizards, who are 9-10 against teams under .500.

THE WEEK AHEAD: Today: at Washington, Monday: Home with Portland, Wednesday: Home with Toronto, Friday: at Dallas, and Saturday: at Indiana.

NBA NEWS AND NOTES

Steph Curry is back, and what a return performance, going 10 of 13 from three point range and scoring 38, as the Warriors scored 141 points in a win over Memphis.

The Cavs went winless on their west coast trip, falling to Utah. The Cavs have lost seven straight in Salt Lake City. LeBron’s 33rd birthday didn’t go according to plan.

Detroit got a 14-21 game from Andre Drummond in a win over the Spurs.

Kristaps Porzingis scored seven of his 30 points in the final 90 seconds, as the Knicks beat the Pelicans.

Atlanta topped Portland by 15. Miami by six over the Magic.

Big win for the road 76ers without Embiid to beat Denver.

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

Always a pleasure and Go Bulls!

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