FINAL: Milwaukee 110 Bulls 96. Bulls (18-32, 11-14 at home)
LEADING SCORERS: Bulls: Valentine - 18. Bucks: Antetokounmpo - 27.
LEADING REBOUNDERS: Bulls: Markkanen - 10. Bucks: Antetokounmpo - 9.
LEADING ASSISTS: Bulls: Grant and LaVine each with 5. Bucks: Antetokounmpo - 8.
CCI 24 SECONDS COMMENTARY: The Bulls were flat to start the game, as they turned the ball over countless times and missed shots. Meantime, the Bucks came out knocking down threes and took control in the second quarter, lifting Milwaukee to a 19 point halftime advantage. The Bulls made a few mini runs, but they were not sustainable as Giannis got it going in the third, scoring 12 of his game-high 27 points in the period. The Bucks are 3-0 under interim Head Coach Joe Prunty.
CCI STAT OF THE NIGHT: 721. With 17 points, Lauri Markkanen becane Finland’s all-time leading NBA scorer, passing Hanno Mottola. For more, go to BullsTV on Bulls.com for my one-on-one interview with Lauri, along with post game chats with Justin Holiday and Denzel Valentine.
CCI 2nd STAT OF THE NIGHT: 5. Kris Dunn missed his fifth straight game, and the Bulls sorely miss his presence on both sides of the floor, coupled with his leadership ability. He remains out.
INSIDE THE LOCKER ROOM: Fred Hoiberg: "We got to get our competitive edge back. It’ll start at practice tomorrow (Monday). We’re going to have a hell of a practice (on Monday). We’re going to have a training-camp-type practice. We have to get our competitive edge and spirit back. We’re going to go like hell."
UP NEXT: At Portland on Wednesday.
BULLS MOMENT: Happy Birthday to our very own Stacey King! Enjoy some cake and put a little "hot sauce" on it for our CCI readers!
NBA NEWS AND NOTES
They’re dancing in the streets in Rockford. One of their own, Fred Van Vleet of the Raps, scored 25 points, one of seven double-digit Raps’ scorers, as Toronto cooled off the Lakers 123-111. The win earned Dwane Casey the honor of coaching Team LeBron All-Star on Sunday, February 18.
Cavs 121 Pistons 104. Detroit has lost eight straight, and fell to four under .500. James and Love combined for 45 points.
Sacramento Head Coach Dave Joerger experienced a momentary episode of light headedness during the first quarter, and missed the rest of the Kings game. The Spurs pulled away for a 113-98 victory.
Life without Boogie Cousins will be a tough road, as the Pelicans, playing their first game since the season ending injury to Cousins, lost to LAC 112-103. Where do you find 25-13 that Cousins provided? Anthony Davis had a monster game of 25-17, but it wasn’t enough. The Pelicans had their four-game win streak snapped, while blowing a 21 point lead in the process. The Bulls play the Clippers Saturday afternoon at Staples.
OKC won its eighth-straight 122-112 over Philly. Russell Westbrook scored 37 points on 33 shots. Joel Embiid may play in his first set of back-to-backs tonight in Milwaukee.
Rockets 113 Suns 102. Houston has won 14 of its last 16 from Phoenix.
The league and the fans want a more competitive All-Star game, and this just might do the trick. According to ESPN, each player on the winning team will receive $100,000 and the losing team players will pocket $25,000, according to league sources. The only modification is the winner's compensation, with a $50,000 boost from previous years. CCI concurs with this decision if it comes to fruition.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I love Nike’s new "City Edition" uniforms. The Bulls powder blue, red, and white is pleasing to the eye. It reminds me of the throwback early Sacramento Kings days. On Sunday, the Bucks wore their cream and green unis. The cream color signifies the dairy industry in Wisconsin. It is a good look.
The Bulls held a moment of silence for the late/great sports agent Henry Thomas, who passed away over the weekend. He loved Chicago, loved his family, and loved his clients. He was much, much more than a person who served players. He mentored and touched so many people. Their lives were enriched by his presence. RIP.
Always a pleasure!