GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
Cleveland Cavaliers (16-7, 8-3 on the road) at Bulls (3-18, 2-7 at home)
TV: WGN TV: Neil Funk and Stacey King 7PM CT
RADIO: WLS 890AM: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, Steve Kashul. 6:30CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Holiday- Markkanen 14ppg. Cavaliers: James: 28ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen: 8. Cavaliers: Love: 10.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Grant 5. Cavaliers: James: 8.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Bulls must value possessions. Limit turnovers and take advantage of Robin Lopez in the post against Kevin Love. The Bulls MUST get back in transition or LeBron will burn you every time receiving gorgeous out-let passes from Love. The Cavs decided to turn the alarm clock on and have reeled off 11 straight wins. There will be a buzz in the building tonight so the Bulls need to feed off the energy and effort and sustain it for 48 minutes.
JAMES MVP: He didn’t even finish in the top three in MVP voting last year so he is sending a strong message to voters that he’s still the “King”. Now in his 15th season, James is shooting a career high in field goal percentage (58%)-3 point shooting percentage (41%). His .773 free throw percentage is his second best mark since 2008-09. He’s averaging nearly nine assists per game matching his career high of a year ago. He has 15 double-double games and two triple doubles. Oh, by the way, he turns 33 later this month and is playing like he’s 23.
Total minutes: 1,083-regular season games: 42, 125. He’s averaging 37.1 this season. Tack on 9, 127 playoff minutes (217 games) James has played a whopping: 51, 252 minutes since entering the NBA in 2003. That’s doesn’t include his participation with Team USA Olympic and International events. He is arguably a top five player in the history of the sport.
MIROTIC UPDATE: The veteran forward is progressing with his conditioning to the point we could see him make his 2017-18 season debut this week against Indiana (Wednesday) or Charlotte (Friday).
BULLS BENCH ROTATION: A positive sign for the Bulls as Coach Hoiberg continues to find the right combination of reserves, has been the play of Paul Zipser with back to back double figure scoring games. Cristiano Felicio has struggled this year but played well in the Bulls loss to the Kings Friday night. Consistency is the key... stringing good games together. With David Nwaba back, it gives Coach Hoiberg another option. The bench will be deeper when Mirotic is ready to play.
NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
Orlando just got by the Knicks as NY played without their top two scorers in Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. Both players will miss tonight’s game at Indiana. The Magic ended a seven game road losing streak. Nikola Vucevic was a one man wrecking crew with 34.
T-Wolves past the Clippers. Jimmy Butler scored 20 of the final 24 points for Minnesota. Taj Gibson with a double-double. The Clippers were down four starters and lost on the road by only six. The T Wolves went with a tight eight man rotation.
Last week it was KD, now the feisty Warriors were back at it in Miami as Shaun Livingston was ejected for making contact with an official. Golden State blasted Miami by 28.
OKC beat an undermanned Spurs club by 3. Westbrook with a triple double. Kyle Anderson, a very valuable member of the Spurs, suffered a left knee injury with an MRI scheduled for today.
The Rockets are on fire..seven straight wins...18-4 overall, as they polished off the Lakers by 23. The Lakers drop to 8-15. LA has dropped five straight and its next four games are on the road. Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton on the Rockets: “Houston is playing the best basketball in the NBA right now.”
A busy night tonight..11 games on the schedule...
Thanks for reading CCI. E mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @ctsbulls.
Always a pleasure!