GAME NIGHT FROM THE UNITED CENTER:
A very, very difficult 24 hours for all of us who love and follow the game of basketball. Kobe Bryant has left an indelible mark that will live for generations to come. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, three daughters, the families of those who also perished and those affected with this tragedy.
The following statement is from John Paxson, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, on behalf of the Bulls: "The Chicago Bulls organization is terribly saddened about the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the other passengers in today's horrific helicopter crash in California. While he leaves us far too soon, his legacy and persona will forever be remembered. One of the best to have ever played the game of basketball, we extend our deepest sympathies to the Bryant family and the other families affected."
San Antonio (20-25, 8-13 on the road) at Bulls ( Bulls: 18-30, 10-15 at home)
TV: NBCSC: Neil Funk and Stacey King 6PM CT.
RADIO: 670 The Score: Chuck Swirsky, Bill Wennington, and David Schuster: 5:45 CT pre.
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: LaVine: 25 ppg. Spurs: DeRozan: 22 ppg.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: LaVine and Young each with 4 per. Spurs: Aldridge: 7 per.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Satoransky: 5 per. Spurs: DeRozan: 5 per.
PREVIEW: The Bulls first glimpse at the on again-off again Spurs as the Bulls attempt to begin another busy week with a home win before departing for three straight on the road.
Zach LaVine was magnificent in Saturday's road win at Cleveland but he received help from Tomas Satoransky who had been mired in a January shooting slump until facing the beleaguered Cavs. Satoransky delivered his first double-figure scoring game in over a week with a 19-6-6 game. Whether it's done one or two players or by committee the Bulls need to have other players than LaVine turn in consistent performances.
San Antonio fell at home Sunday losing to the Raptors 110-106. At the beginning of the game, each team committed a 24 seconds violation in remembrance of #24 Kobe Bryant.
The Spurs are led by LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan. This is not your father's Spurs team. Life without Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili is difficult. Very difficult. The Spurs were the gold standard for two decades, winning five NBA titles. They were a noodle of consistency. Think about this: David Robinson is in the Hall of Fame. Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker are locks. Incredible. And remember, the Spurs had Dennis Rodman and sent him packing to the Bulls for Will Perdue. The Spurs are now like so many NBA teams, trying to figure things out as they put together a roster hoping to become an elite, consistent NBA contender.
24 SECONDS NBA NEWS AND NOTES:
Portland 139, Indiana 129: Damian Lillard had 50 points and 13 assists, becoming the first player in franchise history to have three straight 40
New York 110, Brooklyn 97: Kyrie Irving did not play for personal reasons.
Atlanta 152, Washington 133: Trae Young lit up the Wizards with a 45-6-14 game. Young, mentored by Kobe Bryant, wore jersey #8 to honor him during the first few moments of the game. Bradley Beal hoping to be an All-Star reserve poured in 40 points.
New Orleans 123, Boston 108: Zion Williamson with a 21-11 game in 27 minutes.
Los Angeles 112, Orlando 97: Kawhi Leonard with a huge 31-14-7 game.
Denver 117, Houston 110: Nikola Jokic recorded his ninth triple-double of the season.
Memphis 114, Phoenix 109: Late game situation, rest assure the ball will be in the hands of Ja Morant. The Grizzlies rookie point guard is tremendous. Need a hoop? Chances are he will deliver. Morant shredded the Suns with a 25-6-5 game. He scored 14 in the fourth quarter.
Always a pleasure.